The Portland Thorns announced today that midfielder Yazmeen Ryan has been traded to Gotham FC as part of a four-team NWSL swap. The move nets Portland the fifth pick in next week’s NWSL draft, as well as $200,000 in allocation money. Ryan was initially sent to Angel City Fc for the pick and cash, and the player was then flipped to Gotham FC with the first pick in the draft heading to LA (along with allocation money).
The Thorns in addition have acquired a second round pick in the 2024 draft from Angel City. A tweet from the NWSL outlined who ends up where and which teams end up with what:
A breakdown on the epic FOUR team trade today pic.twitter.com/yUvD4bFj5M— National Women’s Soccer League (@NWSL) January 6, 2023
On the trade, Thorns General Manager Karina Leblanc shared: “I am excited for Yaz and her future in this league as she continues her career. She has been a player who has shown her abilities during her time here in Portland and is highly regarded. We want to thank her for all of her contributions, not only for helping us win a championship, but also for all her work in our community.”
Reflecting on Ryan’s time in Portland
In the 2021 NWSL Draft, the Portland Thorns selected midfielder Yazmeen Ryan sixth overall out of TCU. Portland traded their 7th and 32nd overall draft picks as well as an international slot to move up and select Ryan.
Former Thorns Head Coach Mark Parsons made it clear she was their top priority during the draft.
“Fantastic with the ball at her feet, great at receiving in tight areas,” he said at the time. “The distribution is superb, but something that makes her unique for someone who can play in the midfield or even out wide is on the dribble she is special and she strikes the ball with both feet like someone I haven’t seen in a while.”
In two seasons with Portland, Ryan has appeared in 38 matches in all competitions with 21 starts. She was instrumental in the team’s 2021 NWSL Shield, Women’s International Championship Cup (WICC), and 2022 NWSL Championship.
Yazmeen Ryan had a breakout 2022 appearing in 18 games (11 starts) with two goals and five assists. She led the team in assists and was tied for third most in the NWSL.
Under Rhian Wilkinson, Ryan made her biggest strides as a player. Deployed primarily as a winger, she was brilliant on the dribble and as a playmaker. Her ascension this year was huge for the club. In Portland’s NWSL championship run, she started both the semifinal and the final.
The trade’s timing comes during a Women’s World Cup year where Ryan was set to be a major contributor. It was assumed it would be with the Thorns — instead it will be in Gotham.
Trade Takeaways, Analysis, and Grade
- Yazmeen Ryan is going to be a star for Gotham FC.
- The four team trade involves Portland, Gotham FC, Angel FC, and Orlando, but may be conditional on Alyssa Thompson turning pro.
BREAKING: A four-team #NWSL trade will see Gotham send the No. 1 pick to Angel City, Orlando send the No. 2 pick to Gotham. It's all contingent upon 18-year-old #USWNT prospect Alyssa Thompson turning pro.@jennatonelli + @JeffKassouf have details:— The Equalizer (@EqualizerSoccer) January 5, 2023
➡️ https://t.co/FNvBMmeE2S pic.twitter.com/Tw3gFvR7AP
- Yael Averbuch West is retooling her club with young and talented players like Ryan & Pickett. Is Michelle Cooper or Emily Madril next?
- With Ryan gone, I predict Portland’s 2023 assists leader will be Janine Beckie or Crystal Dunn
- In addition, I predict that Janine Beckie will start at winger and Crystal Dunn in the midfield
- The frontline of Sophia Smith, Morgan Weaver, and Janine Beckie is world class and among the absolute best in NWSL
- Thorns will get an excellent player in the draft at #5, if they stay put at that spot
- Expect Karina Leblanc to have another trade or signing lined up using the allocation money. Could we see a big name international sign in the Rose City?
- Who will be starting when players go to Australia for Women’s World Cup? Due to the anticipated high number of call-ups, the Thorns will be testing its depth more than most teams in NWSL.
- Expansion Draft note: with Utah and a second expansion team joining the NWSL in 2024, the Thorns would find it difficult to protect all of their core players, which would have included Yazmeen Ryan. Seeing as Ryan could have been a likely pick, Leblanc made the trade sure to get ahead of the two expansion clubs, and ensure that Portland gets maximum compensation.
- Both teams won this trade
- Grade: A- *Pending: another move with the allocation money or draft picks
With Yazmeen Ryan now departing Portland, it proves as a good opportunity to share your favorite moment from her time in a Thorns shirt.
Be sure to leave a comment to show your love and appreciation to #23.
The 2023 NWSL Draft will take place on Thursday, January 12, at 3 p.m. Pacific in Philadelphia. Portland has five picks at 5, 12, 24, 36, 48. The draft will be shown on CBS Sports Network, Paramount+ and CBS Sports HQ.
You can read the full news post from the Thorns on the Ryan trade here.