Rebecca Moros, Thorns training, 3.10.14
Photo by Craig Mitchelldyer

Student of the Game: Thorns FC defender Rebecca Moros learned much while playing in Japan

Far from the newly created NWSL, Rebecca Moros spent last year playing in Japan. When WPS folded in 2012, she had taken her talents to INAC Kobe Leonessa, a team in Japan’s top women’s league. Now back with Portland Thorns FC for 2014, Moros is excited to be back in the States with a new outlook on culture, family and soccer.

“I felt like I couldn’t turn anywhere without learning something," said the inquisitive Moros of her time in Japan. "Whether it was going to the grocery store or biking to practice on the other side of the road, it was like everything was educational.”

A native of Manhattan, Moros has spent much of her time on the East Coast. After playing her college career at Duke, she spent time professionally in Washington D.C., Rochester and New Jersey. The move to Japan was a huge step for her, both professionally and as a person.

“I had two jobs [in Japan]: I played soccer and I studied all day long,” she said. “No one spoke English, and it was such an intense environment to be in that I had to be able to communicate to fit in.”

Even a simple trip to the grocery store became over-stimulating; a jumble of foreign language and customs difficult to adapt to for a professional athlete trying to train the right way.

“I didn’t know what I was buying. I didn’t know how many calories were in it. I didn’t know what I was cooking,” said Moros.

Eventually overcoming and mastering the challenges of learning a new culture, her experience in Japan has changed her for the better. Moros admits coming home to the U.S. though has been a relief. Being able to relax a bit more in more familiar surroundings let her concentrate more on soccer.

“I felt like it was time for me to come back,” she said. “[I knew] right away the Thorns were the team I wanted to play for.”

Portland, in turn, was a good fit for Moros. She has a history with Paul Riley, who coached Moros at the youth level with HBC Fury. A student of the game at all levels, Moros has said she is always looking for ways to help the attack from her position.

“Interplay with the midfield is probably my favorite,” Moros said of her favorite aspect from the linking play from her natural position on the backline. “You’re choosing your timing. [The] interactions that you get when you’re starting the offense from the outside back position. I really enjoy that manipulation of the other team.”

Happy to be back stateside, she says she is looking forward to playing in Portland in 2014.

“Portland is awesome. We’ve gone out to some nice restaurants. I’ve been having a great time,” said Moros.

The Thorns have their home opener this Saturday, Apr. 26 vs. FC Kansas City at 7pm PT (TICKETS).