Oregon hikes and community help Thorns FC's Angie Kerr feel right at home

Though she wasn’t born here, Angie Kerr has become an Oregonian through and through. After playing for the University of Portland, Kerr had made a home in the Beaver State before helping the Portland Thorns to their first NWSL Championship last year.

Outside of her life as a professional soccer player, Kerr enjoys the natural scenery the Pacific Northwest has to offer.

“I live really close to Tryon State Park, so I love going there,” said Kerr. “I try to go there pretty often just to walk and get away and kind of have that quiet time.”

When she’s not hiking through the park with her husband, Kerr spends much of her time involved in the athletic community around Portland. Last year, she was the head coach for Lake Oswego High School’s junior varsity boys soccer team. With her husband recently finishing graduate school, Kerr has found a special place in her heart for the Willamette Valley.

“It means a lot to me,” said Kerr. “I started in the WPS, going to so many different teams or cities that I wasn’t familiar with.”

Before she found her way to the Thorns, Kerr spent time playing for Saint Louis Athletica, the Atlanta Beat and Sky Blue FC. Also a past member of the U.S. Women’s National Team, travel has become a normal part of Kerr’s life.

As her fondness for Portland as home has grown, so too has Kerr’s appreciation for the community around her into a sense of belonging.

“Portland really is my home,” said Kerr.  “Being connected to the community, and having so many kids that I interact [through coaching] with makes it even more special.”

Coaching season over, Kerr has turned back to the Thorns 2014 campaign, where Portland (2-0-2) stands in second place in the league table, just below Seattle Reign FC whom the team plays on Saturday at 4:00pm PT (TICKETS).

Portland recently raised the championship banner in the North End at Providence Park, with the women from last year’s team receiving rings in a special ceremony during the home opener against FC Kansas City on Apr. 26.

The moment was special for Kerr, who won an NCAA national title in college alongside current Thorns teammate Christine Sinclair when both were with the Portland Pilots.

“It’s even more special to me, because I’m older and I really understand just what it means,” said Kerr. “These players are some of the best in the world. It was definitely one of the biggest moments in my soccer career.”

Now, with the Thorns season underway and a target on their backs, it’s up to Kerr and the other veterans on Portland’s squad to see the city back to the championship game in 2014.

The task won’t be easy, with the Thorns already getting every NWSL team’s best shot at home and on the road.

“I think we embrace that and it’s definitely the position I want to be in,” said Kerr. “I want to be the team that they’re chasing and trying to prove wrong.”