Thorns FC selected five players in the 2024 NWSL Entry Draft, presented by Ally, including forward Payton Linnehan, midfielder Olivia Wade-Katoa, defender Kelsey Kaufusi, goalkeeper Katherine Asman and midfielder Katie Duong.
“A successful 2024 NWSL Draft for us. As our owner Lisa Bhathal Merage said ‘We are bringing great players and even greater people to a great city,’” Portland Thorns FC General Manager Karina LeBlanc said. “It was a complete draft for us, we got a player in every position and took one step closer to building a roster for 2024 that will compete at the highest level.”
“We are really pleased with the young women we have selected to be part of the Thorns family. They are entering a very exciting next stage of their soccer journeys and to see their faces and hear their voices as they embark on this is an honor to be a part of,” Head Coach Mike Norris said. “We feel that we were able to get the right women as we continue to build for the 2024 season and beyond.”
Linnehan, the 11th overall pick, joins Thorns FC from Penn State University where she recorded 34 goals and 24 assists in 90 appearances during her five years as a Nittany Lion. In each of her five seasons with Penn State, Linnehan and her squad made NCAA Tournament appearances, advancing to the Round of 16 in three of the five. Additionally, Linnehan won two Big Ten Tournament Championships in 2019 and 2022.
Wade-Katoa, the 23rd overall pick, and a graduate of Brigham Young University, comes to Portland after recording 25 goals and 20 assists in 120 matches for the Cougars. Wade-Katoa led the Cougars to its first-ever NCAA College Cup, finishing as the runners-up in 2021, before returning again in 2023. Additionally, Wade-Katoa and BYU earned a second-place finish in their first season in the Big 12 Conference.
Kaufusi, the 25th overall pick from Utah State University, joins the Thorns as the reigning Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year. During her four years with Utah State she made 76 appearances, all of them starts. With her selection, Kaufusi becomes the first-ever Utah State graduate to be drafted into the National Women’s Soccer League.
Asman, the 39th overall pick, joins Linnehan as the second Penn State University Nittany Lion to be selected by the Thorns in the draft. Asman made 323 saves and 27 shutouts across 87 games as the Nittany Lion’s goalkeeper. Before joining Penn State, Asman spent her freshman year as a member of Loyola Marymount where she appeared in one match.
Duong, a Portland, Oregon native, returns to play for her hometown team after three years at Stanford University and two prior at the University of Minnesota, appearing in 66 matches between the two schools. As a member of the Stanford Cardinals, Duong recorded two goals and seven assists, and was a member of the 2023 NCAA College Cup squad that finished as runner-ups.