The Portland Thorns are special. They mean a lot to me. They mean a lot to the city of Portland. They mean an incredible amount to women’s sport worldwide.
The previous iterations of the top women’s professional leagues in the United States hadn’t made it past three years, and when I decided to join the newly formed NWSL in 2013, I had no illusions that it would be easy. Still, I believed in women’s soccer and believed that in Portland we could create something that had never been done before.
Every step of the way, the Portland Thorns exceeded expectations. Our success on and off the field has received worldwide attention, but the work done at the league level has in many ways had the most impact in keeping the NWSL in its position of growth and success.
The Portland Thorns are the first three-time NWSL champions, breaking attendance records since 2013. The club has been at the forefront of building what women’s football has become in this country and the world.
The past year has been a challenging year for our club and our players. I regret the role our organization played in the errors identified by the investigations. Despite these challenges, the Portland Thorns have a bright future ahead of them and much to achieve.
To fully realize that potential I believe it is in the interest of the Thorns to have a new owner so that the club can operate with a fresh voice at the league level to be a driving force for the NWSL. This was a difficult decision for me, but I believe it is the best way to position the Thorns for continued success during this next chapter of the NWSL and the sport.
We are committed to continuing to work with the NWSL to ensure we find the right group to take the reins. We will not rush into a decision because we want to do it right for our players, for Portland and for women’s football.
An ownership change with the Thorns will not affect Peregrine Sports’ ownership of the Timbers, and we will be a key partner to the new Thorns ownership group as we believe the team should continue to call Providence Park home.
Finally, I will make a million dollar pledge to establish an NWSL Player Safety Office. I like Commissioner Berman’s vision and I am proud to have been able to sow the founding capital for the project.
I am so proud of what the Portland Thorns have accomplished. I’ve had the honor of working alongside these incredible athletes as they make history on and off the field. While this decision is not an easy one for me, I believe it is the right one for the club, the league and Portland.