Rumors had been circulating for a while that the Portland Thorns had another player who would be joining the team from abroad this off season and last week the Thorns teased the announcement with a couple of Australia-themed tweets. Today the team announce that they have signed 20-year-old defender Stephanie Catley.
Catley joins the Thorns from the Melbourne Victory, where she was captain for the 2013-14 season. Until now Catley has spent her whole professional career with the victory, making 50 appearances and scoring seven goals for the team. She has also earned 15 caps with the Australia Women's National Team.
The Thorns' press release:
THORNS FC SIGN DEFENDER STEPHANIE CATLEY
Australian international to join Portland for 2014 NWSL season
PORTLAND, Ore. — Portland Thorns FC have signed Australian international defender Stephanie Catley, it was announced today. She will be added to the roster pending the receipt of her P-1 visa and International Transfer Certificate (ITC). Per league and club policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Catley, 20, made her senior international debut with the Australia Women’s National Team on June 24, 2012, earning Player of the Match honors in a 1-1 draw against rival New Zealand in Wollongong, Australia. She has since accumulated 15 caps at the senior level for the Matildas, scoring her first career international goal on Nov. 22, 2012, in a 4-0 win against Hong Kong during the preliminary round of the 2013 EAFF Women’s East Asian Cup in Shenzhen, China. The defender is a two-time winner of the Football Federation of Australia’s Women’s U-20 Player or the Year award, earning the honor in 2012 and 2013, and was a finalist for the Professional Footballers Association (PFA) Female Footballer of the Year award in 2013.
"Steph will be a massive addition to our squad," said Thorns FC head coach Paul Riley. "She will bring added speed to our back line and has the ability to go end line to end line. She can provide width on the field and has great delivery and provides a physical presence. She is a fantastic signing for the club and her international experience will be extremely valuable in our quest for the title."
A native of Melbourne, Australia, Catley made her professional debut in 2009 for Australian W-League side Melbourne Victory as a 15-year-old. Earning 50 career league appearances for the Victory in five seasons, Catley has tallied seven career goals and was named the 2012-13 W-League Young Player of the Year after helping Melbourne reach the W-League Grand Final. Named Melbourne’s team captain for the 2013-14 season, Catley has played every minute of all 12 league matches this year, helping guide Melbourne to a berth in the W-League Grand Final against the Brisbane Roar on Feb. 23.
Following her third season with Melbourne, Catley was named the 2011-12 Female Footballer of the Year at the Australian Football Fan Awards. The defender garnered the majority of the 35,000 votes cast by supporters from around Australia.
Born: Jan. 26, 1994, in Melbourne, Australia
Hometown: Melbourne, Australia
Last Club: Melbourne Victory (Australia)