Portland Thorns Sign 4 Former Youth National Team Players

Nikki Washington (in green) scored three goals in five appearances for Canberra United. - Joosep Martinson

The building up of the Thorns' roster continued today with the addition of 4 new players who had played at one point on the US Youth National Teams.

The Portland Thorns announced today that they have added four more players to their roster. In addition to former PSG midfielder Allie Long, who was rumored to have signed two weeks ago, the new players are midfielders Becky Edwards, and Nikki Washington and defender Nikki Marshall. All appear to have been added to the roster during the NWSL's "Signing Period" which ended January 31.

All four women had experience with the US youth national teams, and all of them have professional experience. Two of them, Long and Washington, played college soccer at University of North Carolina, where Cindy Parlow-Cone was an assistant coach.

Adding three midfielders will help round out the Thorns' threadbare midfielder corps, while the addition of the defender, Marshall, will provide a bit more depth at the back.

These signings bring the Thorns' roster to 15 ahead of tomorrow's Supplemental Draft and this weekend's open tryouts at Jeld-Wen Field. Between three and five roster spots remain to be filled.

What do you think of the signings?

Full Press Release:

PORTLAND, Ore. - Portland Thorns FC today announced the signing of midfielders Becky Edwards, Allie Long and Nikki Washington and defender Nikki Marshall. All four players have earned caps at the youth international level for the United States and have professional experience domestically and abroad. Per league and club policy, terms of the contracts were not disclosed.

"I am very excited to have Allie, Becky, Nikki and Nikki join Portland Thorns FC," said Thorns FC head coach Cindy Parlow Cone. "They are all outstanding players and people who will fit in with the Thorns FC style of play and culture. While these four players are very good on the field, they are also tremendous people who will represent Portland Thorns FC well."

Edwards, 24, joins Thorns FC following a stint abroad in Sweden's Damallsvenskan with Kristianstads DFF last season. In 2012, the native of Downington, Pa., registered two goals in 18 matches (17 starts), helping her club to a fifth-place finish in the league standings.

A two-time champion in Women's Professional Soccer (WPS) with FC Gold Pride and Western New York, she was called into her first senior U.S. Women's National Team training camp in November 2011. The former Florida State University captain has a lengthy track record throughout the U.S. Soccer youth national team system. Beginning with the Women's U-17 National Team in 2005, Edwards progressed to captain the Women's U-20 National Team to the championship of the 2008 FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup in Chile. Starting five of her six matches, Edwards registered a goal and an assist during the competition to help the United States earn its second World Cup title in that age group.

Long, 25, recently played for Paris Saint-Germain of Division 1 Féminine in France, helping the club reach the Round of 16 in the 2011-12 UEFA Women's Champions League tournament. A native of Huntington, N.Y., Long scored a brace against eventual tournament runner-up FFC Frankfurt in the team's second-leg match on Nov. 9, 2011. She finished her stay at PSG in March 2012, leaving the club after making 12 league appearances (9 starts) and scoring four goals. In all competitions, including Champions League and the Coupe de France, Long registered eight goals in 16 games.

Following her return to the United States, Long signed with the New York Fury of the Women's Professional Soccer League (WPSL) Elite in April 2012, helping lead the team to a 9-3-2 overall record and a berth in the WPSL Elite playoff semifinals.

As a member of the Women's U-20 National Team, the former University of North Carolina midfielder appeared in five matches during the 2006 FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup in Russia alongside Thorns FC teammate Tobin Heath, recording a goal and an assist during the tournament as the U.S. earned a fourth-place finish.

Washington, 24, appeared in 11 matches (10 starts) and scored five goals for Pali Blues of the USL W-League, helping the team finish the regular season undefeated and reach the championship match against the Ottawa Fury in July 2012. Washington scored the opening goal for the Blues in the title game, but the Fury prevailed in penalty kicks.

In November 2012, Washington signed with Canberra United of the Westfield W-League in Australia as a short-term injury replacement. The Texan scored three goals in five appearances during her time with Canberra.

A three-time NCAA National Champion at the University of North Carolina, Washington finished her collegiate career amassing 17 goals and 28 assists while also suiting up for the Women's U-20 National Team in 2008.

Marshall, 24, served as a forward in college at the University of Colorado from 2006-09, finishing her four-year career as the program's all-time leading goal scorer with 42 goals. After setting a single-season record with 17 goals as a freshman in 2006, the Mead, Colo., native went on to post program records in career points (93) and all-time game-winning goals (18), as well as numerous single-season and single-game records, including the fastest goal in Buffaloes' history 23 seconds into a match against Saint Mary's College in 2009. In total, Marshall amassed 17 program records in four seasons.

The seventh overall pick in the 2010 WPS Draft by the Washington Freedom, Marshall appeared in 25 games as a rookie. The Washington franchise moved to Florida and became magicJack in 2011 and Marshall played in six matches for magicJack before being traded to the Boston Breakers in July 2011.

Playing for the Women's U-20 National Team in 2007, Marshall served as a defender as the United States captured the silver medal at the 2007 Pan American Games and helped the team qualify for the 2008 FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup. Alongside Thorns FC teammates Edwards, Washington and Alex Morgan, Marshall helped guide the U-20s to a Women's World Cup championship in 2008 in Chile, and was named the Sierra Mist Woman of the Match in the 2-1 championship victory against North Korea.

Marshall progressed to feature in the player pool of the Women's U-23 National Team from 2009-11, appearing in numerous training camps and tournaments during the two-year span.

Becky Edwards
Position: Midfielder
Height: 5-8
Born: May 22, 1988, in Downington, Pa.
Hometown: Downington, Pa.
Last Club: Kristianstads DFF (Sweden)
College: Florida State Univ.
Nationality: United States

Allie Long
Position: Midfielder
Height: 5-8
Born: Aug. 13, 1987, in Huntington, N.Y.
Hometown: Northport, N.Y.
Last Club: New York Fury (WPSL Elite)
College: Univ. of North Carolina
Nationality: United States

Nikki Marshall
Position: Defender
Height: 5-7
Born: June 2, 1988, in Thornton, Colo.
Hometown: Mead, Colo.
Last Club: Western New York Flash (WPSL Elite)
College: Univ. of Colorado
Nationality: United States

Nikki Washington
Position: Midfielder
Height: 5-4
Born: Aug. 1, 1988, in Dallas, Texas
Hometown: Mesquite, Texas
Last Club: Canberra United (Australia)
College: Univ. of North Carolina
Nationality: United States

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