Thorns Features

Marissa Everett's next challenge: nursing school

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There’s no offseason for Marissa Everett.

After three years with the Thorns, forward Marissa Everett retired from professional soccer to start a daunting new challenge: nursing school. The 25-year-old already has her head in the books, checking off two last prerequisite courses she needs before she dives into a two-year nursing program in January at Concordia’s Portland campus.

“I've only done soccer, and that's crazy to think about,” she says. ”So maybe in that aspect, I'm nervous about shifting my career. But I'm really excited to go and start working and trying to make people feel better. It'll be hard, I'm not going to lie. But I am not scared of challenges.”

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Everett who majored in human physiology at the University of Oregon and has family and friends in the healthcare industry, says she always knew she was interested in making this step.

“Honestly, it's always been in the back of my mind,” she says. “It was always the intention to go to back school at some point, whether it was [physician assistant] or nursing school. I always loved science classes in high school, and when I took human anatomy for the first time [at university], I just fell in love with it.”

Those ambitions took a backseat when she signed with the Thorns in 2019, initially as a national team replacement player. It was an offer she couldn’t turn down.

“The opportunity to play for the Thorns came up and I was just like, ‘Well, how can I say no?’ So I took that and ran with it.’

Everett re-signed with the Thorns ahead of the 2022 season, playing 10 games and making 4 starts in the Championship run. She scored in the 5-0 home demolition of NY/NJ Gotham FC, and against CF Monterrey in the Women's International Champions Cup in August.

Meanwhile, Everett says her college credits were on the verge of expiration—letting them lapse would mean having to start again. Everett applied to Concordia’s program halfway through the 2022 season, still not sure if she would take the leap or not. She told some of her close teammates, one on one, about her impending decision, mindful of the fact that they still had a job to do, and not wanting to distract from their mission as a team.

But the Championship win in October made the moment for retirement feel right. 

“We won the Championship this year and I was just like, this couldn't have ended better. It worked out really well,” Everett says. “Everybody was honestly just really happy for me, which made me feel happy myself. It’s a hard decision. But having that support from your teammates is amazing.”

August 17, 2022: Marissa Everett, moments before scoring against CF Monterrey

While Everett says she feels the pull of her family and childhood home in Southern California, she would love stay in Portland and work here as a nurse after graduation. She’s found a home here after 8 years in the state, and giving back to the Portland community in a new way feels right.

“The community in Portland has done so much for me, personally,” she says. “I’m hoping that when I start working, I can continue with that feeling of being connected and doing everything I can for Portland. Almost like I’m returning the favor."

The Thorns, too, hope that Everett stays in Portland. 

“If the opportunity comes, we would love to have Marissa stay involved in the club,” says general manager Karina LeBlanc. “We want our players to understand that we want them involved post-retirement, when possible. The game is better off when players stay in it.”