"The Portland Thorns is the Promised Land of women's soccer . . ."
Opening near the start of the final chapter of Gwendolyn Oxenham's new book, Under the Lights and in the Dark: Untold Stories of Women's Soccer, the phrase boldly puts down a marker about soccer and The Rose City. Moreover, turning the oft-used phrase on its head, judging this book by its cover–an image of Thorns FC celebrating at Providence Park–it's clear why Oxenham feels that Portland has something special with women's soccer.
The book, now out in hardcover, dives into stories across the spectrum of women's soccer with perspectives from around the globe on the challenges and rewards of the game and how it is growing, changing and evolving in various forms.
Oxenham, the documentary director behind Pelada and a writer for The Atlantic, Sports Illustrated, Howler (and ThornsFC.com), explores tales from Siberia to Brazil and from England to right here in Portland. The final chapter, aptly entitled Rose City 'Til I Die, takes a look at the unique love affair between Thorns FC and their diehard supporters group, the Rose City Riveters.
Want to hear more? This Friday night, Oxenham will host a book reading and signing at Powell's Books in downtown Portland at 7:30pm PT. You can also read more about the book and the Thorns' place in it in this great Q&A with Oxenham from the Portland Monthly.
Can't make it Friday night? Don't fret. Bazi Bierbrasserie–a Thorns pub that features prominently in the book as well–is hosting a reading and book event of their own on Saturday following the Thorns match against the Chicago Red Stars. Kickoff for the game is 12:30pm PT at Providence Park with the Oxenham event happening afterwards.