Thorns get Sinclair, Morgan -- but Seattle lands Rapinoe
Christine Sinclair and Alex Morgan head the list of seven players allocated to the inaugural Portland Thorns FC women's pro soccer team Friday.
Portland resident and former UP star Megan Rapinoe wound up with the Seattle Reign, along with U.S. goalie Hope Solo and others. Rapinoe, however, has signed with Lyon Feminine, a team in France that is seeking its third consecutive UEFA Champions League title. She is expected to miss the early part of the new National Women's Soccer League's season.
U.S. star Abby Wambach, who also lives in Portland, will play for the Western New York Flash.
Also allocated to the Thorns were U.S. midfielder Tobin Heath and defender Rachel Buehler, Canadian goalkeeper Karina LeBlanc and Mexico's Luz Saucedo and Marlene Sandoval, both defenders.
We couldnt be more excited. We have a great foundation to build on," Thorns coach Cindy Parlow Cone said. "These seven players bring so much to Thorns FC. We are going to be a competitive and exciting team.
"Is it time to hand the hardware over? No. But its a great foundation for us to build a championship team around.
The NWSL chose locales for 55 players whose salaries will be paid by their national governing bodies. Each of the eight teams wound up with three U.S. players, two players from Canada and two from Mexico, with the exception of the Western New York Flash, who got two players from each country.
Sinclair, from the University of Portland, has starred internationally for Canada over the years and recently was named her country's top female athlete of 2012, when she led the Canadians to a bronze medal at the London Olympics.
Morgan has been a standout forward, as well, and a key contributor to the Olympic champion U.S. women's national team. Morgan, 23, was voted U.S. female soccer player of the year for 2012. She led all U.S. scorers with 28 goals and a team-high 21 assists.
Sinclair ranks third all-time internationally with 143 goals in 190 appearances for Canada. She trails Mia Hamm (158) and Abby Wambach (152).
Buehler, 27, has earned 98 caps with the U.S. national team, playing in 50 of the 52 matches over the past two years. She had one goal and a career-high four assists in 31 games last year.
Heath has 60 U.S. caps and started four of the squad's six Olympic games.
LeBlanc, 32, has made 103 appearances in goal for Canada.
Sandoval is 28, and Saucedo is 27. Sandoval was a backup for Mexico in the 2011 Women's World Cup, while Saucedo started in two of three matches.
The Thorns, whose home games are set for Jeld-Wen Field, will stock the rest of their roster soon.
We have the draft coming up next week, and well be looking to get top college players," Parlow Cone said. "Well be looking to sign free agents around this core group. Well be a very pressure-oriented group with high intensity, and Ill look for players who fit into that style that I want to play.
Im hoping that were a very dynamic and productive team. We have great attacking players, and we want to play a possession style. Were going to be a dynamic team offensively, and I think the Portland fans are really going to enjoy watching these young women play.