Editor's Note: The Portland Timbers and Thorns FC have partnered with iconic, local comic book publisher Dark Horse Comics to create player-specific superheroes in recognition of National Superhero Day. As part of the project, artist Ron Chan and comic book writer Paul Tobin created fictionalized origin stories for each player, detailing the genesis of their individual “super-powers.
Lindsey Horan, aka “The Great Horan,” received a mysterious gift in her youth when a strange pair of soccer shoes appeared on her doorstep. “At first I assumed they were a birthday present,” Horan says. “Although my birthday was weeks away.” The mystery persisted when no one claimed responsibility for the gift, and then stranger still the first time Horan wore the shoes to practice. As she left home, the shoes, emitting a soft glow, led Horan to a garden gate she’d never seen. “Every time I tried to step in an opposite direction,” she says, “they refused!”
Dark Horse Comics
Opening the gate, Horan stepped through and… amazingly… found herself many miles away on the soccer field. Since that day, Horan can use the shoes to access what she calls a “gate,” a portal that transports her to wherever she wishes. Opposing players are confounded by her ability to appear anywhere on the field, as if from nowhere. Strikers find themselves stripped of the ball. Defenders discover that Horan has somehow gotten past them. Goalkeepers find the ball slowly spinning to a stop in the net behind them, with Horan already jogging away. Some fans have even reported finding The Great Horan suddenly sitting next to them, there one moment, gone the next.
“I still don’t know where the shoes came from,” Horan confesses. “Nobody knows anything about them. And, sometimes, when I step through the ‘gates,’ I hear strange voices. Calming words. Whispers that tell me what the opposing players might do next.”
Whatever the origins of the shoes, it’s clear that The Great Horan no longer needs them. These days the shoes are tattered and no longer fit, but Horan’s abilities remain. Whether the days of her youth, her achievement of being the first U.S. female player to sign and play overseas directly out of high school, her games with the USWNT and her days with the Thorns, Horan has always been a step ahead. Scientists researching the Horan Phenomenon believe that the shoes acted as a trigger, awakening latent powers within her, enhancing her strength, endurance, stamina, and physical ability. Her abilities have already lifted Horan as last year’s National Women’s Soccer League MVP, the ultimate all-around player, and it should be interesting to see her grow even further this year.
“Who knows what this season will bring?” she laughs. “Who can tell?” Then, listening to voices only she can hear, Horan adds, “Well, I could tell you. But it’s a secret.”