I just got home from the Thorns Season Ticket Holder Appreciation Event. Coach Cone held a Q&A session that lasted about 20 minutes or so. I had the opportunity to ask her two questions during the session, and I thought her answers were interesting. Note that what is shown below is not a direct quote unless it's in quotes; otherwise what you see is my paraphrase. Italics represent my comments after-the-fact which weren't part of the question or answer.
- Q: "Where do you think Amber Brooks will be playing next spring?"
- A: I talk with Amber (Brooks played for CPC at UNC)... "She signed for another year in Germany. Because of her schedule it didn't make sense for her to join us last season. It would have been great for us but bad for her." The plan (I don't recall Cone's actual word, but it was definitely stronger than "hope") is that once her season ends in March, she will join us. "Fingers crossed."
- Q: "Do you expect Tobin Heath to be playing in Paris or Portland next spring?"
- A: "Are you asking me where I would put my money? ... Knowing Tobin, I think she'll go back to France and will join us about the same time next season as she did this season."
Other things that Cone mentioned, largely in response to specific questions (some of these are obvious, but I'm including as much as I can recall outside of a few of the random questions):
- She considers Kat Williamson and Mana Shim to be co-Most-Improved-Players since the start of the season
- She and Buehler talked after the home opener (while still on the field) that the atmosphere was like a World Cup match (both have played WC matches, obviously)
- The home fans really help the team's energy
- She feels that the quality of the officiating has been bypassed by the quality of the players in the league; this included a reference to some players who are "really sneaky" and can con referees into awarding undeserved penalty kicks or free kicks in dangerous positions
- At this point she hasn't heard anything about teams relocating, expansion, retention of players, etc.
- For the league to survive other teams need to close the gap with the Thorns in terms of attendance
- She decided to join the NWSL because she views this as the "last chance" for a women's league after the two previous failures