Thorns FC

Thorns FC sign defenders Kelli Hubly, Emily Menges to contract extensions

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PORTLAND, Ore. – Portland Thorns FC today announced that defenders Kelli Hubly and Emily Menges have signed contract extensions through the 2024 season. Menges’ contract also includes an option for the 2025 season.

Wilkinson says Hubly has "risen to the occasion"

The 2022 campaign marks Hubly’s sixth season with Thorns FC. The 27-year-old defender was undrafted after concluding her collegiate career at DePaul University in 2016. She arrived in Portland as a non-contract player in 2017 and was a national team replacement player during both the 2017 and 2018 seasons before signing with the club on April 27, 2018. During her career in Portland, she has played in 67 matches (54 starts) across all competitions, tallying one goal.

“Kelli’s journey and path to get here is an inspiring one for us. She’s been relentless in her pursuit at this club, and she inspires her teammates and others by being authentically herself,” shared Thorns FC general manager Karina LeBlanc. “To be able to watch her grow throughout the season, and last year, there are so many promising things about the future with Kelli.”

This season, Hubly is the only player that has started all 12 matches, playing all 1,080 minutes of action during the 2022 regular season. Notably, she scored her first professional goal in Portland’s 3-0 win over Angel City FC on June 3 at Providence Park. In 2021, Hubly made 18 appearances, including 12 starts, as part of a defensive unit that set an NWSL single-season record for shutouts (13), while helping Portland win the NWSL Challenge Cup, Women’s International Champions Cup and NWSL Shield.

“Kelli has worked hard to get her playing opportunity and she has more than risen to the occasion,” said Rhian Wilkinson, Thorns FC head coach. “She is a player that brings speed and power to our backline, while also adding an attacking mindset and flair going forward, something I know the fans have really enjoyed. She is a connector in the locker room, a player who directly influences our team culture and connection daily.”

Menges: Second all-time in games played, games started and minutes played

Menges has been with Portland since the club drafted her in the third round of the 2014 NWSL College Draft. Among players in club history, Menges ranks second all-time in games played (142), games started (140) and minutes played (12,423). During her tenure, Menges has helped Portland win two NWSL Shields (2016, 2021), the NWSL Challenge Cup (2021), WICC (2021), and an NWSL Championship (2017), appearing in 168 games across all competitions, while making 163 starts. Individually, Menges earned NWSL Best XI honors in 2016 and NWSL Second XI accolades in 2017 and 2018.

“Menges has experience in this league and she has proven to be a leader on and off the field. Everything she brings to this club, her commitment to the team, fans, the community and overall, to the game, highlights her impact,” said LeBlanc. “For us it was important that Menges felt that we appreciated all the work she has done as a veteran in this league and team.”

During the 2022 campaign, Menges has featured in and started a total of 10 games across the Challenge Cup and regular season. In 2021, the 29-year-old defender appeared in 21 matches, making 20 starts. Menges tallied her first professional career point, an assist against Louisville on July 3, 2021, and logged the second-most minutes on the team (1,749). Notably, she holds the club record for consecutive minutes played (3,683), spanning from April 17, 2016, to Sept. 2, 2017.

“Menges is a foundational element of not only this team, but also of the organization. She is someone who lives and breathes the Thorns values and identity and has done so since her arrival at the club,” stated Wilkinson. “She is a leader for the team both on and off the field, a player her teammates look to. On the field she delivers an athleticism and consistency that supports how we want to play here in Portland.”

Portland returns to NWSL action on Friday, July 29, on the road against Racing Louisville FC at Lynn Family Stadium; kickoff is set for 5 p.m. (Pacific) with a broadcast available on Paramount+.