Portland Thorns

Portland Thorns FC season opener attracts record television audience

Portland Thorns FC season opener attracts record television audience

Portland Thorns FC's season opener against the North Carolina Courage may not have gone their way, but it wasn't all bad news that came out of the match.

The Thorns' 2-1 loss to open the NWSL Challenge Cup,  which was the first American professional sports game to occur since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, was the most-watched NWSL match of all time with an average audience of 572,000 viewers, CBS Sports announced.

It smashed the previous record holder of Portland vs. Houston on August 3, 2014 (190,000) by 201%. 

CBS aired the match as a part of the NWSL's new broadcasting deal reached with the network back in March. Under the agreement, CBS will broadcast the league opener and NSWL championship, while CBS Sports Network would broadcast another 14 games with 71 more games airing on CBS All Access: CBS' streaming platform that charges a minimum of $5.99 per month to subscribe to. The NSWL also planned to stream 24 matches on Twitch. 

The game was not only the first NWSL game of the season, but it kicked off the NWSL Challenge Cup: a 25-game tournament in Utah that was scheduled due to the coronavirus pandemic suspending the season. 

According to the NWSL, the format of the tournament will feature the league’s nine clubs each playing four games in the preliminary rounds to determine seeding. The top eight teams will advance to the quarterfinals, when the tournament becomes a knockout competition. The semifinals and Final presented by Budweiser will be played at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah, with the Championship match slated for July 26, 2020 where they will also announce the tournament MVP Award presented by Budweiser.

However, the Orlando Pride will not participate in the event “due to positive COVID-19 tests amongst players and staff.” The Athletic’s Meg Linehan reported that “multiple players visited a bar in Orlando that prompted additional testing,” leading to the positive tests.

No spectators are allowed at the games. 

Could this newfound audience allow the NWSL to continue this momentum? Perhaps. However, many future games may be hidden behind a paywall which would limit the audience for the league. 

But, with a return like that, perhaps the NWSL and CBS could agree to broadcast more games on the main network available to any household with an antenna. 

Back in May, Thorns FC defender Meghan Klingenberg joined the Talkin' Blazers Podcast and stated that she hoped the NWSL could take advantage of the drought of professional sports in the United States.

It's like the biggest opportunity but also the biggest problem, right?...How do we take advantage of this time, in like a really positive way? It just feels like there's a really limited path forward and I don't know how to make that path work without more resources. - Meghan Klingenberg

Well, the league found a way to return safely in the form of the NWSL Challenge Cup. 

Thorns FC will play next on Wednesday, July 1 against the Chicago Red Stars at 9:30 a.m. (PT) and then again on Sunday, July 5th, at 7:00 p.m. (PT) against the Washington Spirit as a part of the qualification round of the NSWL Challenge Cup. 

Portland Thorns reveal their roster for NWSL Challenge Cup

Portland Thorns reveal their roster for NWSL Challenge Cup

The Portland Thorns announced their roster for the 2020 NWSL Challenge Cup for this coming weekend in Sandy, Utah.

COVID-19 pandemic slowed down the 2020 season, but now it is looking to make its return back to our viewing pleasure.

Finally entering the 2020 season, the Portland Thorns will be represented by these players in the 2020 NWSL Challenge Cup this weekend:

2020 Thorns FC NWSL Challenge Cup roster
Goalkeepers (3): Bella Bixby, Britt Eckerstrom, Adrianna Franch (FED-USA)

Defenders (9): Kelli Hubly, Meghan Klingenberg, Emily Menges, Meaghan Nally (CDP), Madison Pogarch, Katherine Reynolds, Becky Sauerbrunn (FED-USA), Autumn   Smithers, Christen Westphal

Midfielders (6): Celeste Boureille, Lindsey Horan (FED-USA), Emily Ogle, Rocky Rodríguez (INTL), Angela Salem, Gabby Seiler

Forwards (7): Simone Charley, Marissa Everett, Tyler Lussi, Anika Rodriguez, Christine Sinclair (FED-CAN), Sophia Smith (CDP), Morgan Weaver (CDP)

There are three players the Thorns signed to short-term contracts for this tournament: Meaghan Nally, who was selected 25th overall by Portland in 2020 draft, Anika Rodriguez and Autumn Smithers.

Rodriguez played four seasons (2016-19) at UCLA, appearing in 77 matches (57 starts) while tallying 15 goals and 28 assists during her career.

Smithers concluded her final season of eligibility in 2019 at Notre Dame, recording two goals in 21 matches for the Fighting Irish. Prior to her arrival at Notre Dame, Smithers played at the University of San Francisco (2015, 2017-18), featuring in 56 matches (49 starts).

One notable player that is missing from the roster is Thorns FC and U.S. Women’s National Team midfielder Tobin Heath.

Health decided it was best not to participate with the risk and uncertainty that COVID-19 has created, but is looking forward to playing back in Providence Park.

Although I want to be on the field with my teammates doing what I love because of the uncertainty and risks created by COVID-19, I have chosen not to participate in the NWSL Challenge Cup. I can’t even express how much I am looking forward to my next game in Providence Park.

“We support and respect Tobin’s decision regarding the tournament,” said Gavin Wilkinson, general manager and president of soccer for Thorns FC. “Tobin has been an integral part of this club since day one and we have no doubt she will continue to support her teammates during their time in Utah.”

Portland will open the tournament against the North Carolina Courage on June 27; kickoff is set for 9:30 a.m. (Pacific) on CBS if you would like to view their kickoff to the season.

Portland Thorns draw seventh seed in 2020 Utah Challenge Cup

Portland Thorns draw seventh seed in 2020 Utah Challenge Cup

As the sports world begins to safely open up and resume play, the 2020 NWSL Challenge Cup is on the horizon.

This 25-game tournament will kick off on June 27, 2020 at Zions Bank Stadium in Herriman, Utah. 

According to the NWSL, the format of the tournament will feature the league’s nine clubs each playing four games in the preliminary rounds to determine seeding. The top eight teams will advance to the quarterfinals, when the tournament becomes a knockout competition. The semifinals and Final presented by Budweiser will be played at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah, with the Championship match slated for July 26, 2020 where they will also announce the tournament MVP Award presented by Budweiser.

No spectators will be allowed at the event.

The Portland Thorns have drawn the No. 7 seed in this nine-team tournament.

- June 27: Portland Thorns vs. North Carolina Courage

- July 1: Portland Thorns vs. Orlando Pride

- July 8: Portland Thorns vs. Washington Spirit

- July 12: Portland Thorns vs. OL Reign

Watch the selection below:

https://www.cbssports.com/live/the-portland-thorns-fc-secure-the-7-slot-in-the-nwsl-challenge-cup/3301295/

“As our country begins to safely reopen and adjust to our collective new reality, and with the enthusiastic support of our players, owners, as well as our new and current commercial partners, the NWSL is thrilled to bring professional soccer back to the United States,” said NWSL Commissioner Lisa Baird. “This exciting month-long tournament will showcase our league’s talented players and provide our fans the type of world-class entertainment they’ve come to expect from the NWSL.”

Be sure to check out the full Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with host NBA Champion Channing Frye and Emmy Award winner Dan Sheldon, and Timbers midfielder Diego Valeri. 

Portland Thorns to return to individual workouts on Monday, May 11

Portland Thorns to return to individual workouts on Monday, May 11

Just like last week, the Portland Thorns will continue individual, voluntary workouts this week at Providence Park starting on Monday, May 11.

Players will have access to locker rooms, team gyms and team training rooms. Team gyms and training rooms may still only be accessed by players receiving post-operative and rehabilitation treatment, as directed by the club’s Chief Medical Officer.

Thorns FC have been in dialogue with county and state health officials and have shared their return to training plan with them and the NWSL, which includes:

- Restricting training facility access to essential staff only, with specific staff listed in the plan

- Sanitization and disinfection plans for all training equipment and spaces, including disinfection of any equipment used by players (balls, cones, goals) between every session.

- Completion of a Standard Screening Assessment survey by each player prior to every arrival at the training site, and temperature checks upon arrival at the facility.

- Staggered player and staff arrivals and departures, with designated parking spaces to maintain maximum distance between vehicles.

- Player use of personal protective equipment from the parking lot to the field, and again on return to the parking lot.

- Staff use of the appropriate personal protective equipment throughout training, while also maintaining a minimum distance of 10 feet from players at all times.

- Hand washing and disinfectant stations for required use before and after individual workouts.

- Clubs will have the use of the outdoor fields at their training facility, divided into a maximum of four quadrants per field. A maximum of one player per quadrant may participate per training session with no equipment sharing or playing (passing, shooting) between players.  

- An Emergency Action Plan for all COVID-19 related issues.

Be sure to check out Oregon Govenor Kate Brown's latest COVID-19 updates and what it means for local sports.

Kate Brown's latest guidelines could have giant impact on local sports

Kate Brown's latest guidelines could have giant impact on local sports

As the United States continues to deal with the coronavirus, some states have slowly started to roll-out procedures to open back up. 

On Thursday, Oregon Governor Kate Brown announced a multi-level plan to re-open the state. 

The plans will work in phases, with each phase gradually allowing more businesses to operate and loosen restrictions on social interaction. 

According to Brown, during Phase I restaurants and bars can open for limited in-person dining,  salons and gyms can operate with physical distancing and sanitation guidelines, and gatherings of up-to 25 people will be permitted.

The re-opening will be on a county-by-county basis and can start as early as May 15th.

The last phase of the process is Phase III, which would allow sporting events and concerts to start up again. However, Brown hinted in official documents that that phase won't happen anytime soon. In fact, Brown has called for the canceling of all sports events and large social gatherings through at least September. 

Concerts, conventions, festivals, live audience sports won’t be possible until a reliable treatment or prevention is available. It is unknown at this time when this will be. Therefore, all large gatherings should be cancelled or significantly modified through at least September. Further guidance on large gatherings scheduled for later in the fall will be provided this summer. - Oregon Governor Kate Brown

READ GOVERNOR BROWN'S FULL RELEASE HERE 

So, how does this impact the local sports scene?

Let's first look at the NBA, which postponed its season in early March. Should they return to play the remainder of the season and the playoffs, there is a chance the Trail Blazers could be playing games in September.

If that's the case, and the league doesn't play at one central location as has been discussed, then you will have to watch the Blazers play on TV inside an empty Moda Center. If this season gets canceled, but next season starts normally with pre-season games in October, then there is still a chance no fans will be allowed in the arena. 

Local universities will likely be impacted should the NCAA Football season go on as scheduled. Both Oregon and Oregon State have four games scheduled for the month of September, with both teams playing three of those four games at home. 

Oregon State starts the season on the road at Oklahoma State on Thursday, September 3rd, but the next three Saturdays they play at Reser Stadium.

As for the Ducks, they start their season with three-straight home games, none bigger than the September 12th matchup against Ohio State. 

The Buckeyes vs the Ducks is one of the most anticipated non-conference matchups in the entire country this season, and under the current guidelines set forth by Governor Brown, that matchup could happen inside an empty Autzen Stadium. 

Even the Vikings will be impacted, with one home game currently scheduled in September, and one of their road games that month being against the Beavers in Corvallis.

On the pitch, both the Portland Thorns and Portland Timbers had home games scheduled in September prior to their respective seasons being postponed. With MLS now allowing teams to hold individual workouts, a return to play could be in the future. A return to play means both teams would presumedly have home games scheduled in September and would have to join their local sports counterparts in playing inside empty stadiums. 

On Thursday, the Timber/Thorns released the following statement:

The Portland Timbers and Thorns FC have been in constant dialogue with state, county and city officials throughout the pandemic and were aware of the work being done on large public event guidelines that the governor issued today. While we remain hopeful there is a path forward to play in front of our supporters in 2020, we have kept our fans and annual members apprised of their options given the possibility of a full season not being played. Annual members will have the opportunity to rollover their funds with added benefits to 2021 for any missed matches, or may opt for a refund. The Timbers and Thorns have been diligent in our adherence to the advice of local public health authorities and government agencies throughout the crisis and will continue to do so with the safety and well-being of our fans, staff and players as the clubs’ highest priority. - Portland Timbers/Thorns

Of course, things could take a turn for the better and Brown could adjust these dates back earlier, but as for now, fans will have to live with the realistic possibility of watching their favorite teams from the comfort of their home while those teams play in empty stadiums. 

 

Meghan Klingenberg hopes the NWSL can seize opportunity ahead

Meghan Klingenberg hopes the NWSL can seize opportunity ahead

Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, sports all over the nation have been cancelled to ensure the safety of the players and fans, who are complying with stay-at-home orders.

As a result, no sports are being played at the moment which presents an opportunity for whoever can resume playing the fastest.

In the latest episode of Talkin' Blazers with Channing Frye and Dan Sheldon, USWNT and Portland Thorns defender Meghan Klingenberg thinks that the NWSL should be that league, if safe for the players.

It's like the biggest opportunity but also the biggest problem, right?...How do we take advantage of this time, in like a really positive way? It just feels like there's a really limited path forward and I don't know how to make that path work without more resources. - Meghan Klingenberg

She's correct.

If the National Women's Soccer League could get up and running sooner than other sporting leagues and the games got broadcast, more people than ever would pay attention. Combining the absence of any competitors and the popularity of United States Women's National Team players would get a record number of viewers to give the NSWL a shot when they hadn't in the past. 

Then, once they try watching the games the viewers would realize that the women's games are high quality and worth paying attention to, and even appreciate the differences between the games.

I think, you know, the [men's and women's soccer] games are extremely similar in a lot of ways but they're also really different. And I think those differences are what I really love about the women's game. - Meghan Klingenberg

One obstacle, however, could be the new TV deal that the NSWL signed in March 2020 with CBS before suspending its season. Under the agreement, CBS will broadcast the league opener and NSWL championship, while CBS Sports Network would broadcast another 14 games with 71 more games airing on CBS All Access: CBS' streaming platform that charges minimum $5.99 per month to subscribe to. The NSWL also planned to stream 24 matches on Twitch. 

Under this agreement, many games may be hidden behind a paywall which would limit the audience for the league. However, if CBS would agree to air more games on their main network available to any household with an antenna, the popularity of the NSWL could explode.  

There wouldn't be a reason for CBS to not air them on its main channel anyways. The network could shift around some program scheduling to make way for the nation's only live sporting event if this plan goes underway. 

Additionally, American soccer leagues appear to be moving faster ahead than other professional sports leagues, with the MLS announcing that individual player workouts will resume beginning May 6th. Could the NWSL be far behind?

Listen to the full Talkin' Blazers Podcast here!

Ann Schatz has all the respect in the world for Portland's soccer fandom

Ann Schatz has all the respect in the world for Portland's soccer fandom

Few have had the illustrious career of sports broadcasting legend Ann Schatz who not only was the first woman in sports broadcasting in Portland but even got an exclusive interview bite with Tonya Harding at the height of her scandal. Now, Schatz works for the Pac-12 Network and Portland Thorns. 

On the latest episode of The Bridge Podcast, host Justin Myers was joined by the Portland Thorns broadcaster who talked about what makes the Portland market so special compared to other parts of the country.

What a tip of the cap to the city of Portland that understands great soccer. And it is nongender specific: If you can play we are going to come watch you, we're going to cheer like the dickens and we're going to keep coming back. And that's this town. And that's why I love this city so much for what it has done. It's come one come all. If you can play, we're going to come. 

Schatz went on to say that due to the knowledge of Portland, commonly referred to as Soccer City, USA, they were able to fall in love with the Thorns in their inaugural season because of the stellar skill displayed by Canadian National Team forward Christine Sinclair. 

The Portland Thorns, when they began playing in the NWSL back in 2013, and the US Soccer Federation allocated certain soccer players to each team, the Portland Thorns got some terrific allocations and it started with Christine Sinclair: Canada's finest and had starred at the University of Portland and that carryover... being the captain [of the Thorns] and the face, along with Alex Morgan... [Sinclair] brought in the soccer purists and Morgan brought in those that were curious about this league... It was a perfect storm...

It probably helps that the Thorns won the Inaugural NWSL Championship in 2013 and then again in 2017. That type of play has kept the Thorns' fanbase highly engaged in the product, and that support greatly moves the longtime broadcaster who had to deal with a lot of hatred in Portland when she began her career here. 

When you go to home games and there are 16-17,000 people at a match to watch a women's game? It still blows me away. I get the chills. Sometimes it makes me cry. I am so grateful to say that I lived to be working in a franchise in a city that attracts over 15,000 per home game for a women's event. I never thought I would see that day. It is something. 

You can listen to the full podcast below.

Portland Thorns release schedule for 2020 NWSL season

Portland Thorns release schedule for 2020 NWSL season

We’re less than two months away from watching the Portland Thorns take the field at Providence Park!

Portland will kick off its 2020 season at home and host the Utah Royals FC on April 18 at 7:30 p.m.

The Thorns announced their full-24 game schedule on Tuesday, which includes three meetings a piece with each of their eight opponents.

Two of the more notable meetings this season are Portland’s two home matches against its Cascade rival Reign FC on May 16 and June 12.

For those interested in attending a Thorns game this season, single-game tickets go on sale March 12 at 10 a.m. A special presale will take place on March 11 for Thorns FC annual members, Timbers annual members and members of the Timbers annual membership wait list.

Here’s a look at full schedule below: 

2020 Portland Thorns FC Schedule 

Date

Opponent

Kickoff (Pacific)

 

Sat., April 18

UTAH ROYALS FC

7:30 p.m.

 

Sat., April 25

@Chicago Red Stars

4 p.m.

 

Wed., April 29

@North Carolina Courage

4 p.m.

 

Wed., May 6

ORLANDO PRIDE

7:30 p.m.

 

Sat., May 9

HOUSTON DASH

7:30 p.m.

 

Sat., May 16

REIGN FC

1:30 p.m.

 

Fri., May 22

@Utah Royals FC

7 p.m.

 

Sat., May 30

SKY BLUE FC

7:30 p.m.

 

Fri., June 12

REIGN FC

7 p.m.

 

Sat., June 20

@Washington Spirit

4 p.m.

 

Sun, June 28

@Houston Dash

4 p.m.

 

Sun., July 5

@Orlando Pride

2 p.m.

 

Sat., July 11

SKY BLUE FC

7:30 p.m.

 

Sat., Aug. 1

@North Carolina Courage

4 p.m.

 

Sun., Aug. 9

CHICAGO RED STARS

7:30 p.m.

 

Sat., Aug. 15

ORLANDO PRIDE

7:30 p.m.

 

Sat., Aug. 29

@Reign FC

12 noon

 

Wed., Sept. 2

@Chicago Red Stars

5 p.m.

 

Sun., Sept. 6

NORTH CAROLINA COURAGE

1 p.m.

 

Sat., Sept. 12

@Washington Spirit

4 p.m.

 

Sat., Sept. 26

@Sky Blue FC

4 p.m.

 

Sat., Oct.3

WASHINGTON SPIRIT

7:30 p.m.

 

Fri., Oct. 9

@Houston Dash

5:30 p.m.

 

Sun., Oct. 18

UTAH ROYALS FC

12:30 p.m.

Here's the latest food offerings for Timbers & Thorns matches at Providence Park

screen_shot_2020-02-24_at_5.02.46_pm.png
Portland Timbers FC Twitter

Here's the latest food offerings for Timbers & Thorns matches at Providence Park

For those of you who like the peanut butter pickle bacon burger at Killer burger and like watching either the Portland Timbers or Portland Thorns, you’re in luck!

Now you can do both!

Announced on Monday, The Portland Timbers, Portland Thorns FC and Park Provisions have partnered together for the 2020 season to further cultivate a hospitality program that is unique to Providence Park, including the continuation of “Park Pricing” games and the addition of Killer Burger to the venue’s dining roster.



“Park Pricing” returns in 2020:

- $2.50 hot dogs

- $2.50 nachos

- $6 “Beer of the Match” provided by sponsors Widmer, Modelo and Coors Light, for midweek Timbers and Thorns FC matches during the 2020 season.

Killer Burger (in section 93) joins returning favorites Podnah’s Pit and HOTLIPS Pizza and will feature with a classic burger, peanut butter pickle bacon burger and a Park exclusive, Striker burger with bacon, grilled jalapeños, Sriracha ketchup, Havarti cheese, mayonnaise and grilled onion.

Featuring 34 draft handles and 14 varieties of beer, including Widmer Brothers, Breakside Brewery and Pelican Brewing, “Crest & Craft” is a new beer and cider stand. Located at the top of section 99 on the eastside of the stadium, this new stand has a similar concept to the Double Post (North End) and Axe & Rose (westside) stands.

New Executive Chef Garrett Boisture, who previously served fans at the Houston Rockets’ Toyota Center and in Portland at the Rose Quarter. Boisture trained in the culinary arts at the New England Culinary Institute and has worked at some of the top establishments in Charleston, Chicago, Atlanta and Houston, according to the announcement.

Afraid that the stadium will get rid of your favorite food or beverage? Fear not. It is only expanding for more options at your favorite spots:

- Tillamook Grill: A variety of Tillamook signatures dishes, including bacon queso nachos, cheeseburgers, hot dogs, mac ‘n cheese and quesadillas. The main stand is located at sec. 105 and the carts are located at 113 and 99.

- HOTLIPS Pizza: Cheese, pepperoni, sausage and rotating specialty pizzas by the slice (Main Concourse sec. 119, Duracell Deck).

- La Hacha Cocina: A collection of Latin American-inspired dishes, including Tanner Ridge loaded nachos, taquitos dorados and rotating seasonal favorites (Tanner Ridge).

- Double Post: With over 48 draft beer taps available this is the spot to grab an ice cold local craft beer (Main Concourse sec. 109).

- House of 75: Coastal-inspired dishes such as Tillamook cheddar & broccoli soup, coastal clam chowder; all served in a locally-sourced sourdough bread bowl. We also have our new Pacific shrimp roll served with housemade Old Bay chips (Tanner Ridge).

- Soccer City Classics: Game day favorites and ice cold beverages (Main Concourse sec. 121, 96)

- Podnah’s BBQ: Brisket and pulled pork sandwiches from the acclaimed Portland BBQ favorite (Main Concourse sec. 103, Toyota Terrace).

- Vista Nachos: Loaded nachos smothered in fan-favorite toppings (Duracell Deck).

- East Vista Melts: Grilled cheeses and ice cold craft beer (Duracell Deck).

In 2020, Providence Park will also offer several new and returning signature dishes and spotlight new craft beer, cider and wine:

- Tillamook bacon queso nachos: Providence Park Executive Chef Garrett Boisture worked with Tillamook to develop this recipe, putting a local spin on a stadium classic (Main Concourse sec. 105).

- Rooster tots: A Providence Park icon, featuring Tillamook cheeses and locally-inspired toppings that Timbers and Thorns FC fans know and love (Main Concourse sec. 107).

- Tamale Boy: Bean and cheese tamales topped with chicken tinga, cabbage slaw, pico de gallo and queso fresco (Main Concourse sec. 117).

- Uncle Tony’s Pork Rinds: House-made chicharrones with Tajin seasoning and Tapatio sauce (Duracell Deck – Vista Nachos, Tanner Ridge – La Hacha Cocina).

BEVERAGE SPOTLIGHT

- Oregon craft beer and cider: A wide selection of craft beers from Widmer, 2 Towns Ciderhouse, Breakside Brewery, Pelican Brewing, pFriem, Away Days Brewery, Von Ebert Brewing, Double Mountain Brewing, Laurelwood Brewing Company and many others.

- Oregon wine: Local wines from Westmount Wine Co., Erath Winery, Underwood Wine Co., Eola Hills Wine Cellars, Sweet Cheeks Winery, Argyle Winery and Kings Ridge.
ABOUT PARK PROVISIONS

Park Provisions, powered by Levy, delivers dynamic, authentic hospitality to devoted Portland Timbers and Portland Thorns FC supporters. Our goal is to provide exceptional service, delectable food and unrivaled experiences on game day and beyond, showcasing fresh, local ingredients and the best flavors Portland has to offer.

Portland Thorns draft first teenager in NWSL history

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USA Today Images

Portland Thorns draft first teenager in NWSL history

At 19, Sophia Smith has already accomplished more than most people do in a lifetime.

The forward out of Stanford has scored 24 goals and 11 assists across two seasons with the Cardinal. She has also spent time with the U.S. women’s national team, where she took part in training camp this month in Tampa, Florida. 

On Thursday, Smith accomplished another feat when she was selected as the No. 1 overall pick by the Portland Thorns in the 2020 NWSL College Draft. She is the first teenager to be drafted in league history.

Moments after she was selected, Smith discussed her decision to go pro.

“I just felt like this was the best time for me to take the next chapter of my life and my career, and I think there’s no better time to do it than now,” Smith said in a video on the Thorns Twitter account. “I went for it and followed my heart.”

Smith will be joined by a familiar face, forward Morgan Weaver out of Washington State, who was taken with the No. 2 pick. Portland traded the No. 15 and 16 picks, plus allocation money to the Chicago Red Stars to pick Weaver.

The 22-year-old had 43 goals and 12 assists in 85 games for the Cougars and helped lead WSU to the semifinals of the 2019 College Cup.

“It was a tremendous opportunity to be in a position to acquire a player of Morgan’s quality,” head coach Mark Parsons said in a press release. “She’s had an incredible six to 12 months, showing the physical, technical and tactical qualities of someone that has an extremely bright future. We are getting someone who has no ceiling and brings an incredible mentality to how she plays the game.”

Defender Meaghan Nally was selected in the third round, No. 25 overall, out of Georgetown University. In four seasons, Nally made 88 appearances, scored eight goals and had six assists. She is considered one of the elite defenders in the Big East conference.

Another trade was announced in the final moments between the Thorns and Reign F.C. The deal will reportedly bring a Reign player to Portland in exchange for the 34th overall pick. Parsons teased the move on Twitter Thursday.

It is rumored that the Thorns have acquired defender Christen Westphal.

While it's still too early to determine how the latest draft class will impact the Thorns success this season, one thing is obvious: the additions are likely to improve Portland's attack.