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Thorns name roster ahead of the 2020 NWSL Challenge Cup

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Thorns make moves days before the start of the tournament.

Portland Thorns FC v Chicago Red Stars

The Portland Thorns announced today their roster for the upcoming NWSL Challenge Cup. The Tournament will be held Sandy, Utah, spanning June 27-July 26. Portland will open the tournament against the North Carolina Courage on June 27; kickoff is set for 9:30 a.m. (Pacific) on CBS. If you like your soccer early in the day, here ya go.

Entering the 2020 season, Portland re-signed Celeste Boureille, Britt Eckerstrom, Kelli Hubly, Meghan Klingenberg, Katherine Reynolds and Angela Salem to one-year contracts. Thorns FC also signed the first overall pick in the 2020 NWSL College Draft Sophia Smith to a three-year contract and second overall pick Morgan Weaver to a two-year contract, while Marissa Everett and Christen Westphal signed one-year contracts.

In addition, Portland has signed three players to short-term contracts for the tournament: Meaghan Nally, who was selected 25th overall by Portland in 2020 draft, Anika Rodriguez and Autumn Smithers. Rodriguez played four seasons (2016-19) at UCLA, appearing in 77 matches (57 starts), while tallying 15 goals and 28 assists during her career. Smithers concluded her final season of eligibility in 2019 at Notre Dame, recording two goals in 21 matches for the Fighting Irish. Prior to her arrival at Notre Dame, Smithers played at the University of San Francisco (2015, 2017-18), featuring in 56 matches (49 starts).

One player that won’t be taking the pitch is Thorns superstar forward Tobin Heath. Here’s her statement on the subject.

“Although I want to be on the field with my teammates doing what I love because of the uncertainty and risks created by COVID-19, I have chosen not to participate in the NWSL Challenge Cup,” said Heath. “I can’t even express how much I am looking forward to my next game in Providence Park.”

The club backs Heath as evident in this statement.

“We support and respect Tobin’s decision regarding the tournament,” said Gavin Wilkinson, general manager and president of soccer for Thorns FC. “Tobin has been an integral part of this club since day one and we have no doubt she will continue to support her teammates during their time in Utah.”

2020 Thorns FC NWSL Challenge Cup roster

Goalkeepers (3): Bella Bixby, Britt Eckerstrom, Adrianna Franch (FED-USA)

Defenders (9): Kelli Hubly, Meghan Klingenberg, Emily Menges, Meaghan Nally (CDP), Madison Pogarch, Katherine Reynolds, Becky Sauerbrunn (FED-USA), Autumn Smithers, Christen Westphal

Midfielders (6): Celeste Boureille, Lindsey Horan (FED-USA), Emily Ogle, Rocky Rodríguez (INTL), Angela Salem, Gabby Seiler

Forwards (7): Simone Charley, Marissa Everett, Tyler Lussi, Anika Rodriguez, Christine Sinclair (FED-CAN), Sophia Smith (CDP), Morgan Weaver (CDP)

Key:

CDP – 2020 NWSL College Draft pick

FED – Federation Player

INTL – International Player