Portland Thorns FC today announced that the club has re-signed goalkeeper Bella Bixby. The Oregon native signed a three-year deal with the club after a season in which she was included in the 2021 NWSL Best XI Second Team and recorded the second-most shutouts (9) in the NWSL.
“Bella’s leadership on and off the field is integral to the core of this team,” said Thorns FC general manager Karina LeBlanc. “She is a part of our long-term vision for the club, and keeping Bella in her hometown remains a priority of ours.”
In 2021, Bixby was the Thorns’ backup keeper until the Olympic period when she won the starting job and the former No. 1, Adrianna Franch, was traded to Kansas City.
Bixby started 16 matches throughout the year. The 26-year-old registered the league’s best goals-against average and helped the Thorns set defensive records. The Portland Thorns kept an NWSL record 13 clean sheets and tied the league record for the fewest goals conceded (17) during the regular season
“Bella is a young and talented goalkeeper that has a very high ceiling,” Thorns goalkeeper coach Nadine Angerer shared. “A key part of a strong spine, she is calm and composed under pressure with a strong ability to read the game and make smart decisions, while her character has made a positive impact inside the locker room.”
Bixby was drafted by Thorns FC in the third round of the 2018 NWSL College Draft. The former Oregon State Beaver has made 22 appearances across all competitions and has kept 12 clean sheets. Bixby made her Portland Thorns debut against the North Carolina Courage in the 2020 NWSL Challenge Cup.
The club’s full release can be accessed here.