The Portland Thorns have elected not to retain the services of head coach Paul Riley for the 2016 season.
In two seasons with high expectations, Riley was only able to guide the Thorns to the playoffs once, finishing in 3rd place in 2014 and 6th in 2015. The 2015 season was particularly disappointing as the Thorns posted their first losing season with a record of 6-9-5 on the year.
The Thorns, boasting a roster full of international stars, were expected by many to be the team to beat in 2015, but absences for the 2015 Women's World Cup and the following injuries and friendlies left the team without many of those players for much of the season. With so many players in and out of the side, the team needed to be able to adjust quickly and get the most out of whatever players were on hand, but never quite managed to do so with the same success as other teams around the league.
Beyond the team's international players, most of the players brought into the side played for Riley previously in his time as the head coach of the WPS's Philadelphia Independence. Even the Thorns' most recent acquisition brought in in early August, English international Lianne Sanderson, was a former player of Riley's.
The Thorns have not yet named a replacement for Riley.
The Thorns' press release:
THORNS FC ANNOUNCE HEAD COACH PAUL RILEY WILL NOT BE RETAINED FOR THIRD SEASON
PORTLAND, Ore. – Portland Thorns FC today announced that Paul Riley will not be retained as the team’s head coach for the 2016 season.
"On behalf of Thorns FC, I would like to thank Paul for his services to the club these past two seasons," said Gavin Wilkinson, general manager of Thorns FC.
Riley served as the head coach of Thorns FC for two seasons (2014-15), compiling a 16-17-11 overall record and leading the club to one playoff appearance following the 2014 season. In 2015, Thorns FC were 6-9-5 (23pts), finishing in sixth place in the NWSL.
"Thanks to everyone at the Thorns for the amazing opportunity and to the fans who truly make Portland Soccer City, USA," Riley said.
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