PORTLAND, Ore. – Portland Thorns FC announced today that the club has signed head coach Mark Parsons to a multi-year contract extension. Since joining Thorns FC in 2016, Parsons has helped lead Portland to an NWSL Championship (2017), NWSL Shield (2016), four consecutive playoff appearances and two berths in the NWSL Championship game in his first four seasons with the club, posting a record of 49-20-23 (.658).
“Mark has done a fantastic job, and this extension is a well-deserved recognition of his results and potential,” said Merritt Paulson, owner of Thorns FC. “We are excited and proud to have Mark here long term and look forward to seeing his continued development as a top soccer manager.”
During his tenure, Thorns FC won the club’s first NWSL Shield in 2016, and second NWSL Championship in 2017. He has also guided Portland to a top-three finish in each of his first four seasons, with at least 11 wins and 40 or more points in each of those seasons. Under Parsons, Thorns FC have secured one of the top home-field advantages in the league, posting a record of 31-7-8 at Providence Park.
“Mark’s contract extension shows a commitment to both his qualities as the Thorns head coach and the process,” said Gavin Wilkinson, general manager and president of soccer for Thorns FC. “While we have had success, we are collectively striving to make sure this club is at the top of the standings every year challenging for trophies, and we believe Mark and his staff can help the Thorns meet those expectations. We are excited about the future and are pleased Mark will continue to be a part of this organization.”
The third-winningest coach (69-42-36) in league history, Parsons was named NWSL Coach of the Year in his first season with Portland in 2016. During that campaign, Thorns FC finished with a record of 12-3-5, including a mark of 8-1-1 at home and a .600 winning percentage on the road (4-2-4), while also beginning the season on a 12-game unbeaten streak. Statistically, Portland allowed just 19 goals and posted a 0.95 goals-against average, which both ranked as league bests.
“I am humbled for the opportunity to commit long term to this incredible club, and I am very grateful to Merritt and Gavin for their trust and commitment,” said Parsons. “It’s an honor to work alongside such talented staff and an ambitious group of players who relentlessly chase improvement each day. My family is proud to call Portland our home and be in such a special community with the best fans and atmosphere in women’s sport.”
In 2017, Parsons helped Portland lift the NWSL Championship trophy behind one of the top defensive performances in league history. Thorns FC finished with a 0.83 goals-against average, registering 11 shutouts overall and seven clean sheets in 12 home matches. In addition, Portland finished the regular-season campaign ranked first in fewest goals conceded (20), fewest goals conceded at home (8) and fewest goals conceded on the road (12).
In 2018, Portland made its second consecutive appearance in the NWSL Championship, and their third finals appearance in six seasons. The team finished second in the NWSL standings, recording 12 wins and equaling the club’s best road record (6-3-3) in a single season. Thorns FC made their fourth consecutive playoff appearance and their sixth appearance in seven seasons in 2019. Notably, Portland scored 40 goals for a second consecutive season (2018, 2019), which is tied for the most goals in a single season in club history.