PORTLAND, Ore. – Portland Thorns FC today announced that the club has signed goalkeeper Bella Bixby to a three-year contract.
“Bella’s leadership on and off the field is integral to the core of this team,” said Thorns FC general manager Karina LeBlanc. “She is a part of our long-term vision for the club, and keeping Bella in her hometown remains a priority of ours.”
The 2022 season will be Bixby’s fifth season with Thorns FC. In 2021, Bixby, 26, was named to the NWSL Best XI Second Team in her first NWSL regular season as a starter. She made 16 appearances (all starts), posting a league-best 0.69 goals-against average, while registering the second-most shutouts (9) in the NWSL. The Milwaukie, Ore. native helped lead a defense that set a league-record for shutouts in a season (13), while tying the NWSL record for fewest goals conceded (17) in a campaign.
“Bella is a young and talented goalkeeper that has a very high ceiling,” Thorns FC goalkeeper coach Nadine Angerer shared. “A key part of a strong spine, she is calm and composed under pressure with a strong ability to read the game and make smart decisions, while her character has made a positive impact inside the locker room.”
Originally drafted by Portland in the third round of the 2018 NWSL College Draft out of Oregon State, Bixby has appeared in 22 matches (22 starts) across all competitions, recording 12 shutouts. She made her Thorns FC debut during the 2020 NWSL Challenge Cup on June 27 against the North Carolina Courage, and earned her first regular season start with the club on July 3, 2021, in a shutout win against Racing Louisville FC.