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BY PAUL DANZER/PORTLAND TRIBUNE/NWSL champions will retain core of team for 2018

THORNSThe Portland Thorns have taken their first steps toward retaining the core of their championship team. They have exercised 2018 contract options for defender Emily Menges, midfielder/forwards Ashleigh Sykes and Tyler Lussi and forward Savannah Jordan.

Also still on the roster are allocated national team players Christine Sinclair of Canada and U.S. players Tobin Heath, Lindsey Horan, Allie Long, Emily Sonnett and Meghan Klingenberg.

The club has offered 2018 contracts and to goalkeepers Adrianna Franch and Britt Eckerstrom, defenders Katherine Reynolds and Celeste Boureille, midfielders Dagny Brynjarsdottir and Meg Morris and forwards Hayley Raso and Mallory Weber.

Midfielder Amandine Henry (Olympique Lyon) and forward Nadia Nadim (Manchester City) signed with European clubs and will not return to Portland.

Defender Kendall Johnson's 2018 contract option was declined.

A former University of Portland and Lincoln High player, Johnson has appeared in 58 NWSL games. She spent two seasons with Sky Blue FC, joining Portland and playing in 17 matches in 2015.

Johnson, 26, missed the 2016 season after suffering a concussion while playing for Australia's Western Sydney Wanderers, and she played only a few minutes as a substitute this season.

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