Thorns FC Academy

Entering the 2018-19 season, Thorns FC have added Laura Schott as the full-time girls’ academy director for the Thorns FC Academy. Schott will coach and oversee the Thorns FC Academy, helping the program – along with a new partnership with alliance club Westside – reach the next level in its second year in the U.S. Soccer Girls’ Development Academy. Schott, a former U.S. Women’s National Team player and a long-tenured college coach at Portland State University, will develop a strategic platform to aid Thorns FC Academy players on their pathway to college.

With its partnership with Thorns FC, Westside will provide additional access to training fields and handle a number of the day-to-day administrative operations of the Thorns FC Academy. Westside will strategically work with each of the nine alliance clubs across the Portland Timbers’ development territory to help Schott further build the Thorns FC Academy. In addition, training, game and coaching opportunities will be provided to local alliance clubs. Thorns FC, along with Schott’s expertise, also will introduce a coach-development system to involve assistant alliance coaches who are on their license pathway and desire extra experience and improvement.

Thorns FC Academy teams will train at both Providence Park and at facilities on the westside of town, also rotating practices and games across the local alliance club facilities throughout the season. Current Thorns FC midfielder Tobin Heath will continue her role as assistant technical director, while first-team coaches and players again will assist at training on a regular basis.


Tryouts for 2018-19 Thorns FC Academy teams will be held May 7-12, with specific dates for different age groups. Thorns FC first-team coaches will assist in player evaluation during one night of the tryouts. There is a minimal charge to participate in the tryout. CLICK HERE to register.

  • U-14 Tryouts (birth years 2005-06) – May 7-8, at Providence Park – 6-8 p.m.
  • U-15 Tryouts (birth year 2004) – May 9-10, at Providence Park – 5-7 p.m.
  • U-17 Tryouts (birth years 2002-03) – May 9-10, at Providence Park 7-9 p.m.
  • U-19 Tryouts (birth years 2000-01) – May 11-12, at THPRD, 6-8 p.m.


The 2018-19 Thorns FC Academy coaching staff includes head coaches Laura Schott (U-17s, U-15s), Chris Thurley (U-19s) and Tracy Nelson (U-14s). Assistant coaches are Sophie Clough (current Thorns first-team assistant coach) and Kat Tarr (a former Thorns FC player).

The coaching staff will be integrated and will work with each other across the age groups. Additionally, Darren Lilla will serve as the Thorns FC Girls ODP head coach, providing an invaluable link between the pre-academy and academy programs, as well as adding to the vertical integration of coaching philosophies within the club.