[Updated 9/4/18 with quotes from head coach Mark Parsons]
Bella Geist is set to depart Portland early this season in order to join 1. FFC Frankfurt on loan, according to PTFC Insider and Soccer Made in Portland co-host Richard Farley.
The Frauen Bundesliga begins on September 15th, and as Geist is not realistically in contention to start games over Adrianna Franch or Britt Eckerstrom, joining her new team for preseason camp makes sense. “It’s a unique opportunity for Bella to go get games at a quality club that we have good a relationship with in a great league, and that’s best for her,” said Mark Parsons after training. “She’ll obviously come back in after that period, come back in and get ready for the 2019 season... We’re excited for Bella to get this opportunity.”
Geist will be competing with Bryane Heaberlin, formerly the starting goalkeeper for the u-20 World Cup winning US team in 2012, for a starting place on a top team in a highly competitive league.
Geist has made no appearances for the Thorns in her first season for the club after getting drafted 29th overall from Oregon State in the 2018 NWSL college draft but has appeared on a few benches while Adrianna Franch was out injured.
With just one regular-season game, plus playoffs remaining in 2018, Portland isn’t likely to need a third-choice backup keeper, but Parsons says the club has “good options” for signing a backup-backup keeper if that becomes necessary.
Current Portland Thorns goalkeeping coach and former player Nadine Angerer was the first player to travel between Frankfurt and Portland, making 85 appearances for FFC Frankfurt between 2009 and 2013 before joining the Thorns in the 2014 NWSL season. Angerer’s connections to her former team were essential to bringing Ana-Maria Crnogorcevic over from FFC Frankfurt on relatively short notice in preseason. Thanks to Angerer, the Frankfurt-Portland connection “is becoming a good club relationship,” said Parsons.