Thorns FC

Youngest NWSL MVP Sophia Smith commits to Portland with multi-year extension

2024 Thorns Extend Sophia Smith 16x9
Thorns FC and Sophia Smith have agreed to a multi-year contract extension that connects the five-year pro to the Rose City, the Thorns and its supporters as the club enters a new era.

Portland, Ore. – The Portland Thorns and forward Sophia Smith have agreed to a multi-year contract extension that connects the five-year pro to the Rose City, the Thorns and its supporters as the club enters a new era. The contract will take effect immediately and link the United States Women’s National Team forward with Portland through the 2025 season, with a player option for 2026. The full terms of the contract will not be disclosed per club policy.

“I’m excited to call Portland home and extend my time with the Thorns,” said Sophia Smith. “The support from the fans, city and club have been tremendous and I’m looking forward to being a part of its next chapter. I’m grateful for the support from Karina and the Bhathal family to me and my teammates, as we move forward and work hard to lift more trophies for the Thorns.”

“Soph is a special player who has accomplished so much in a Thorns kit and made our city and club proud. We’re thrilled that she’s reaffirmed Portland to be her home and trusts the organization as it moves forward,” said Portland Thorns General Manager Karina LeBlanc. “The Bhathal family have been incredibly supportive from the beginning and with signings like this, they are demonstrating their commitment to build a championship winning club.”

“It was incredibly important for us to make a statement as we enter the next era of Thorns soccer – to the city, to our fans, and for our future,” said Thorns controlling owner and Governor Lisa Bhathal Merage. “Soph is a generational talent and we’re excited for the future we’ll build together.”

“We are over the moon to have Soph commit again to the Thorns. She is a proven, world class talent and one that we are excited to have contribute to the team’s continued success,” said Head Coach Mike Norris. “We look forward to working with her in a Thorns jersey as she continues to shine as one of the top strikers in the world.”

This extension marks the second time Smith renews her contract with Portland, after re-signing with the club in 2022 on a three-year deal set to expire at the end of the 2024 season. Thus far in her career Smith has helped the Thorns lift five trophies, including the 2022 NWSL Championship, the 2021 NWSL Shield, the 2021 NWSL Challenge Cup, the 2022 Community Shield and the 2021 Women’s International Champions Cup. Smith is the only player in Portland Thorns’ history to be named both the NWSL MVP and win the NWSL Golden Boot.

The 23-year old Windsor, Colo. Native was acquired with the first overall pick in the 2020 NWSL College Draft, beginning her career with Portland. In four seasons, Smith has tallied 40 goals across all competitions – placing her second in all-time club scoring. Last year, Smith’s 11 regular season goals made her the first player in Thorns to claim the league’s Golden Boot, as well as one of the four finalists for MVP honors. She was the only American player on the 2023 Ballon d'Or Feminin finalists list comprised of the best 30 players in the world.

In 2022, Sophia would score a club single-season record 15 goals, become the youngest player in league history to win league MVP honors, as well as her first selection to the NWSL Best XI. To close out the year, Smith would score the game winner in the NWSL Championship title match, be named the youngest Championship MVP – and give Portland it’s third title. After an untraditional rookie season, she took the league by storm beginning in her sophomore year, scoring a team-leading seven goals in 2021.

To kickoff the 2024 campaign, Smith scored her sixth career regular-season brace (goals 33, 34) in the season opener against Kansas City, moving her into the league’s top 20 for all-time goals scored in only 57 matches. She also became the first player in league history to score in her opening match in four consecutive seasons.

Since making her international debut in November of 2020 versus the Netherlands, Smith has recorded 16 goals and seven assists, including two against Vietnam in the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup. As a member of the United States Women’s National Team, Smith has helped her country win back-to-back SheBelieves Cups in 2021 and 2022, along with the 2022 Concacaf Women’s Championship and most recently the first-ever 2024 Concacaf W Gold Cup.

At the end of 2022, Smith was named the U.S. Soccer Female Player of the Year for her performance during a year that saw her score 11 goals, becoming just the fifth player to win both U.S. Soccer’s young and senior Player of the Year awards after being named Young Female Player of the Year in 2017.