“We are thrilled with today’s allocation, and I see this group of seven players as a terrific foundation for this club,” said Cindy Parlow Cone, head coach of Thorns FC. “This group has a wealth of quality, international experience, and we are excited to build around them to put together a competitive and entertaining club in our first season.”
Portland Thorns FC was allocated Rachel Buehler (USA), Tobin Heath (USA), Alex Morgan (USA) , Karina LeBlanc (CAN) , Christine Sinclair (CAN) , Luz Saucedo (MEX) and Marlene Sandoval (MEX).
So excited to be with the @thornsfc ! Awesome teammates, organization, and what an amazing soccer city!
— Rachel Buehler (@Rachel_Buehler) January 11, 2013
Let’s take a little closer look at the new members of the Portland Thorns FC:
Rachel Buehler (USA, D)
Member of the United States U-19 FIFA World Championship team and the third place team at the 2004 U-19 Women’s World Championship. Named to the 2008 and 2012 Olympic gold medal teams and the 2011 World Cup team. Attended Stanford University and was a All-Pac-10 Conference First-Team selection, an NSCAA First-Team All-American Scholar Athlete and was chosen as the ESPN Academic All-American of the Year. Played for FC Gold Pride, Boston Breakers and the Atlanta Beat in the WPS.
Tobin Heath (USA, M)
A three-time national champion with the University of North Carolina, Heath was named the 2009 U.S. Soccer Young Female Athlete of the Year. Selected as the first overall pick of the 2010 WPS Draft by the Atlanta Beat. Heath was also on both the 2008 and 2012 Olympic gold medal teams.
Alex Morgan (USA, F)
Member of the 2012 Olympic gold medal team. Was named the US Soccer Female Athlete of the Year and a FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year finalist in 2012. Also in 2012 Morgan led the USWNT in goals (28), multi-goal games (9), assists (21) and points (77). Attended the University of California-Berkeley and was a Hermann Trophy finalist. Was the first overall pick in the 2011 WPS Draft by the Western New York Flash and helped the team win both the regular season title and the WPS Championship. Although she has tallied many goals in her USWNT career, the one most people remember was her match winning goal against Italy that allowed the USWNT qualify for the 2011 Women’s World Cup.
Karina LeBlanc (CAN, GK)
Named a Top-20 Division 1 Recruit in 1997 even though her school did not have a soccer team. Played for the University of Nebraska and was named an All-American and a finalist for the 2000 Hermann Trophy. She was also named to the 2001 Umbro Select All-Star Classic Women’s Elite College Team. Played for the Boston Breakers (WUSL) and was the fifth overall pick of the 2009 WPS Draft by the Los Angeles Sol. Named to the 2009 WPS All-Star Team. Represented Canada at four World Cups and two Olympics. Won gold at the 2011 Pan American games while stopped two penalty shot goals in the final match against Brazil.
Christine Sinclair (CAN, F)
Captain of Canada’s National Team, she has played 13 years with the team and participated in three World Cups and two Olympics. She has been named Canada Soccer Player of the Year nine times and has been named World Player of the Year by FIFA six times. Sinclair is also the all-time leader in goals scored for the Canadian national team. Played for the University of Portland and scored 23 during her first season during which she was named Freshman of the Year by Soccer America magazine and a consensus All-America selection. During her sophomore year she led all Division I scorers with 26 goals and scored the golden goal in the national championship match against Santa Clara. Won the Hermann Trophy during her junior season. During her senior season she set the all-time Division I goal scoring record with 39 goals, helped Portland win another national championship and became only the fourth player ever to win back-to-back Hermann Trophy Awards. She also was awarded the Honda-Broderick Cup as the college woman athlete of the year. Selected by FC Gold Pride (WPS) in the league’s first International Draft and led her team to a regular season championship. In 2010 she won another WPS regular season championship, this time with the Western New York Flash, and led the league in goals (10) and assists (8). Named MVP of the 2011 WPS finals where the Western New York Flash defeated Philadelphia Independence in penalty kicks.
Luz Saucedo (MEX, D)
Played on Mexico’s 2011 World Cup team.
Marlene Sandoval (MEX, D)
Played for Mexico’s U-20 World Cup team in 2002, the 2004 Olympic team and the 2011 World Cup team. Has 5 international goals in 72 appearances. Played Cal State Fullerton and earned second-team All-America honors from Soccer Buzz and SoccerTimes.com during her senior season while being named Big West Conference Defensive Player of the Year and a First-Team All-Big West Conference selection.
Hey, Portland Thorns FC fans … are you excited yet? Let us know in the comments below on how you think the NWSL allocation went for your team.