The Portland Thorns won a record third NWSL championship last Saturday night, and they’ve spent most of the past week deservedly reveling in their victory.
Between a hero’s welcome at PDX and a raucous party at Providence Park with fans, the Thorns players enjoyed their well-earned title.
NWSL Championship Match Smashes Viewership Records
The National Women’s Soccer League continues to grow and improve each year. CBS finally gave the league a chance to be in primetime and it set a massive record. The NWSL Championship match between the Portland Thorns and Kansas City Current averaged 915,000 viewers — the most-watched in league history!
In 2021 the NWSL final was held at 12pm EST, hours away from primetime. Each opportunity the league has been on big CBS, they’ve taken full advantage. The 2022 final saw a 71% viewership increase and Paramount+ saw double-digit growth.
2022 NWSL Championship on CBS and Paramount+ is Most-Watched NWSL Match Ever pic.twitter.com/IMyleRJUvT— CBS Sports PR (@CBSSportsGang) November 1, 2022
The Champs are Home!
Less than 24 hours after winning their third championship, our Portland Thorns were welcomed home at PDX with hundreds of fans chanting, celebrating, and showing appreciation to their team.
photos from the Thorns arrival at PDX today: https://t.co/0HPLuGnTBx #BAONPDX pic.twitter.com/uQuvj6uEmr— Sean Michael Meagher (@sean2m) October 31, 2022
Even the airport was in on the fun!
Home Sweet Home. This was quite the welcome sign today, @flypdx! So proud to support the players of @ThornsFC! #BAONPDX #NWSL pic.twitter.com/NmfW03oY5h— Luke Fritz (@LukeFritz64) October 31, 2022
Portland Thorns Celebrate with Their Fans
The Thorns were greeted by thousands of fans in the Rose City Riveters section of Providence Park. They were treated to a bunch of “mic drop” moments, love, and fun.
For the celebration, Governor Kate Brown, Senator Jeff Merkley and Senator Ron Wyden all made appearances and joined in on the party.
Last night was pure joy ✨ #BAONPDX pic.twitter.com/brIReY23aA— Portland Thorns FC (@ThornsFC) November 2, 2022
What was the best moment of the night? Olivia Moultrie.
An absolute MIC DROP OLIVIA #soccer #portland #iconic #micdrop #thorns #champions♬ original sound - Portland Thorns
Quotes from a Champion head coach & Most Valuable Player
After the speeches and cheers, the Thorns players and coaches spoke to the media one last time before the offseason:
Rhian Wilkinson on the support she has received from the players in regards to Coach of the Year:
“Look, it’s lovely. The right three people were nominated for coach of the year. It’s a nice thing for them to do but, I think Casey Stoney has been fantastic, Matt Potter and Laura Harvey. It was a great year and that’s what makes this league so fantastic. So many teams did so well. I appreciate it and it’s a nice thing for them to say, but absolutely the right person won that award.”
On if winning the championship has sunk in…
“No, I think these amazing celebrations are fantastic and I love the players getting to have that experience. I’m doing my exit meetings, players are starting to leave, and then I’ll take a step back. Then, it’ll really sink in what a wonderful year this has been.
Being a first-year championship winning head coach
“Hard to know, right? It’s fantastic. I’m pretty proud of that. I recognize that my staff played a huge part in it. What a fabulous team.”
Sophia Smith on the biggest difference between last year and this year
(Reminder she has scored double digit goals for club and country this year)
“I think this year, I’ve just been more confident. Last year was kind of my first real season. I think I was just trying to find my footing as being a professional, staying healthy, and getting used to this game. I think this season, I finally just found my place, found my confidence, and this team & staff has allowed me to just be myself and play free. I think that’s probably the biggest difference.”
If the successful season has sunk in…
“Yeah, a little bit. I feel like since we’ve got back, we had a little more time to take a step away and really reflect. It’s starting to hit me and it’s a good feeling, but I’m just excited for next year. I know it’s soon to say that, but I’m excited for next year because I think we can do it again.
Christine Sinclair Returns for 2023 Season
THE GOAT IS STAYING IN SOCCER CITY— Portland Thorns FC (@ThornsFC) November 2, 2022
Christine Sinclair will return to Portland for an 11th season in 2023 #BAONPDX pic.twitter.com/iQPc20YRPM
And last but certainly not least, with free agency pending, the legendary Christine Sinclair made it official that she’d be back for the 2023 season.
The legend’s memoir “Playing the Long Game” is out now, be sure to pick up a copy.
For @sincy12, a busy 2022 included the release of her memoir "Playing the Long Game." She told me she did not plan for the book to come out on the day @ThornsFC celebrated another #NWSL title, but it's a pretty cool coincidence that it did #BAONPDXhttps://t.co/yyQJ4RRYpc— Paul Danzer (@PaulDanzer) November 2, 2022