PORTLAND, Ore. – The NWSL Champions Portland Thorns have found their man. The Thorns announced today that they have hired Paul Riley, former head coach of the two-time runner-up Philadelphia Independence and Coach of the Year in Women’s Professional Soccer in 2010 and 2011; Riley most recently served at the helm of the New York Fury of WPSL-Elite.
“Paul is an accomplished coach and we have been very impressed with his knowledge of the Thorns FC organization, the NWSL and the women’s game at the highest levels” said Gavin Wilkinson, General Manager of the Portland Thorns in a press release. “His experience in managing top-level players was of paramount importance. Paul shares our belief that the Thorns should be perennial championship contenders. We, the staff and players, are delighted to welcome Paul to the organization.”
“It is a fantastic opportunity with a club renowned for its success both on and off the field,” Riley said. “It’s a great challenge and I look forward to integrating a style of play that fans in Portland will embrace. Portland is a special place for soccer and I share their passion, a love and appetite for a creative, attacking style of play. We have a fabulous core group of players and I’m excited to work with such a hungry, motivated and talented group. Our goal is to bring another championship to Portland and further cement the Thorns in the mystique of this great soccer city.”
Riley has experience coaching at every level. During a decade-long professional career (1989-1998) that saw him playing for the Albany Capitals, New Jersey Eagles, and Long Island Rough Riders, Riley led the LIU Post from 1990-1997, before joining the Rough Riders as head coach from 1998-2003, earning Coach of the Year in 1998 and winning the USL D3 Pro Championship in 2002. Riley began his women’s coaching career in 2005 when he joined, the Long Island Fury of the WPSL, leading the Fury to the championship in 2006 and 2009, earning Coach of the Year honors in 2009.
In a media conference call following the announcement, Riley mentioned several potential player moves, tactics, and vision for the team. Highlights can be found on my Twitter feed @CascadiaFooty.