As reported on Feburary 21st by Jamie Goldberg at The Oregonian, the Portland Thorns signed W-League’s Golden Boot Winner Ashleigh Sykes today. Sykes, who was considered “dynamic for Canberra in the W- League & would be on the Matildas if she desired” according to Chelsey Bush, looks to be an amazing addition to the Thorns attacking team. “Ashleigh is a dynamic forward with great ability to create and score goals," said Mark Parsons, head coach of Thorns FC. "She is very capable of playing wide or down the middle in the front line. That versatility, with her pace and winning mentality, makes her an important addition to our team.”
With the absence of Bryngsdottir and Nadim later in the summer due to the Euros, Sykes will be a great partner for Canberra United teammate Hayley Raso. During her last season with the shield winning Canberra United, Sykes was an explosive influence, helping her club towards the final. Sykes was described by the Canberra United coach Rae Dower as “the most humble, hard-working player and the ultimate role model for her teammates" in a recent interview with ESPNFC; there is little doubt she will be an asset both on the field and off the field for the Thorns.
Sykes has a history of international experience — in 2016, she played with the Japanese women’s league, and as a result should have no problem acclimatizing to the speed of play and tough competition of the NWSL.
The official press release below:
PORTLAND, Ore. – Portland Thorns FC have signed Australian forward Ashleigh Sykes, 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.
“Ashleigh is a dynamic forward with great ability to create and score goals," said Mark Parsons, head coach of Thorns FC. "She is very capable of playing wide or down the middle in the front line. That versatility, with her pace and winning mentality, makes her an important addition to our team.
Sykes, 25, won the Golden Boot in the Australian W-League for the 2016-17 season, tallying 12 goals as she helped lead Canberra United to its third W-League Premiership (2011-12, 2013014, 2016-17) during her tenure with the club.
Joining the club for the 2008-09 season, Sykes made her professional debut at 17 and joins Portland with more than 90 professional appearances in Australia, tallying more than 30 goals across nine seasons. In 2014, Sykes scored the W-League Goal of the Year to ensure Canberra’s spot in the 2014 W-League playoffs and went on to register a brace against Perth Glory, earning Canberra its second W-League Championship.
As an Australian international, Sykes has been capped 19 times, including a pair of substitute appearances at the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Making her international debut in 2008 at the AFF Women’s Championship, Sykes helped Australia win the tournament, scoring her first international goal in a win over the Philippines.
Sykes will be added to the roster on June 10.
Born: Dec. 15, 1991
Hometown: Dubbo, South Wales
Last Club: Canberra United (Australia)