On a slow Monday, the Portland Thorns broke the news that defender Madison Pogarch has been traded to San Diego Wave FC, in exchange for defender Tegan McGrady.
Madison Pogarch, or Po as she likes to be called, joined the club in May 2019 after not going undrafted. The Rutgers alumni joined the preseason camp that year, showing off some of her qualities such as her speed and good defensive work.
Another of Po's top moments with Portland: When she got into Usain Po mode and ran at 19 mph (30 km/h, according to The 18 Fútbol) to go back to defense in the quarter finals of the Challenge Cup 2020 after taking a corner. #BAONPDX pic.twitter.com/O5u2EZi7LJ— Melina Melinae (@melinae07) July 25, 2022
She didn’t have to wait much to get her debut with the Thorns, making her first appearance for the first time on May 25 against Sky Blue FC, and then she got her first start on June 15 against North Carolina Courage.
Po joined the list of many players (Celeste Boureille, Kelli Hubly, Simone Charley, and Elizabeth Ball) who didn’t get drafted but found success nonetheless at the Rose City club. Being signed by Portland opened some doors for her, such as playing with the U-23 US national team back in 2019. In an interview with ThornsFC.com, she recognized the feeling like that year was a “dream and everything she would have hoped for.”
The defender didn’t always get the highlights but her work on the defense (many times coming on for veteran Meghan Klingenberg or starting in that position) gave her the opportunity to show everybody her development— especially in the last year with her crosses.
Makin' a Banc deposit pic.twitter.com/5vsMQucnxS— Portland Thorns FC (@ThornsFC) July 2, 2022
Po became a player the team could rely on, as Thorns head coach Rhian Wilkinson said: “Madison has been an incredible player and teammate here in Portland. She always brings a wonderful energy and can be counted on to be the first to celebrate and hype up her teammates. We have seen her impact in the past few games, her intensity on and off the ball, as well as her wonderful crossing ability. She is popular with her team and fans and will be hugely missed. We would like to wish Po every success and thank her for her service to the Thorns.”
Being a Thorn has been one of the greatest honors in my career. This is the club that made me a pro. I never could have imagined the great depth of joy being a Thorn would bring me. This is bittersweet, but I leave Portland a fuller person and want to thank you all for that pic.twitter.com/zi9J5xffRH— po (@maddiepogarch) July 25, 2022
General Manager Karina LeBlanc said about the move: “In speaking with Po, she was thankful for her time with Thorns and the role the club provided in helping her start her professional career. It is something she never took for granted.”
“Early in the season, Po approached us and said if the right opportunity presented itself with a new club she would be open to that discussion,” LeBlanc continue, “and along with Po we felt this was the right situation. We wish her all the best as she heads to San Diego.”
These are Po’s final numbers with Portland: Across four seasons, she appeared in 45 games across all competitions, registering three assists. In NWSL regular season action, she played in 28 games (7 starts), recording two assists.
The trade with the Wave was a defender for another defender and Tegan McGrady is a Thorn now. The Stanford alumni is a double champion, having helped to win silverware for the Washington Spirit in 2021 and for the Cardinal in 2017.
McGrady is not only used to winning trophies, but also has featured with the US national team, having played for the U-17, U-20, and U-23 sides. Her big international debut with the USWNT came in April, against Mexico.
Let’s do it Rose City ❤️ https://t.co/8gYtuIVzH4— Teegs9⚽️ (@teganmcgrady9) July 25, 2022
With the Wave, she has appeared in 10 games during this season, starting in 9 of them. In those matches, she registered 19 clearances, 4 blocks, and 7 interceptions.
Wilkinson said this about her new defender: “Tegan is an intense competitor who is strong on the ball and likes to get involved in attacks. She reads the game well and has wonderful timing to join in and contribute to attacks.”
The Thorns will be back to play against Racing Louisville on Friday 7/29, at 5:00 PM Pacific.