It’s been almost 20 days since the regular season finished, and the Thorns have had some days off to prepare for what is coming on Sunday. This match is a big one: a playoff semifinal at home against one of the best teams this year.
After some turbulent and painful days after the Sally Yates report was published, it’s time for the club to focus on soccer again. But how could they? With fans thinking twice before buying tickets and many canceling their memberships...
In the past few weeks, some important heads have rolled; GM Gavin Wilkinson and President of Business Mike Golub are gone. After fans crying out for that to happen for months and months, it finally did. Nonetheless, PTFC owner Merritt Paulson is still there. True, he has stepped down from any decision-making related to the club, but the proceeds from both clubs will still go into his pocket.
And that’s one of the reasons why the fans are reluctant to buy tickets to this important playoff game.
The club announced that they will donate a portion of the semifinal ticket proceeds to three local charities, chosen by Thorns FC players. Selected were: Girls on the Run, Girls Inc., and SHE FLIES. The club announced that they are committed to donating a minimum of $100,000 across the organizations.
“Hosting an NWSL playoff match is a privilege that these players worked very hard for, and in turn, the club and players wanted to use the occasion as an opportunity to connect with and benefit our community here in Portland,” Thorns FC General Manager Karina LeBlanc said.
The Thorns will need their fans at the stadium: They’re going to need the strength and energy they always bring. Portland has always been all about soccer. For the players, making a contribution to the community has always been important too, and it’s part of their DNA.
Hopefully, this decision made by the club will help fill the stands of Providence Park and give the players the support they deserve and have been asking for.
More about the three local charities according to their websites
SHE FLIES is an initiative under the Sport Oregon Foundation umbrella working to support, engage, and celebrate girls and women in sport across Oregon. At Sport Oregon, we believe sport is for all — all body types, all races, all ages, all income levels.
Girls Inc. PNW serves youth ages 6–18 across Portland, Seattle and SW Washington. Our research-based programming is delivered by trained professionals who focus on holistic youth development, supporting, mentoring and guiding participants in an affirming, pro-girl environment. Here, youth learn to value their whole selves, discover and develop their inherent strengths, and receive the support they need to navigate the challenges they face.
Girls on the Run is a transformational physical activity-based positive youth development program for girls in 3rd–8th grade, teaching life skills through dynamic, interactive lessons and running games. The goal of the program is to unleash confidence through accomplishment while establishing a lifetime appreciation of health and fitness.