The Portland Thorns' next player acquisition probably won't come as a surprise.
The team picked Amber Brooks in the third round of the inaugural NWSL draft. It was a long shot as Brooks was committed to playing with Germany's FC Bayern Munich for the 2013 season, so it came as something of a surprise that rumors persisted that Brooks would be returning to the states to play for the Thorns in 2014. The rumors were suddenly looking real this winter, however, as word came from Germany that Brooks had cut ties with Bayern.
Now, the move has all but been made official as team owner Merritt Paulson tweeted at Brooks on Christmas Eve:
@abrooks22 look forward to welcoming you to Portland, Amber!
— Merritt Paulson (@MerrittPaulson) December 24, 2013
When the official announcement finally comes, the Thorns will have a significant upgrade to their midfield, the one part of the team that new head coach Paul Riley will most be looking to revamp after some occasionally uninspired play last season. Brooks can play as a defensive midfielder or further outside, and brings the sort of versatility needed to a team limited to a 20-woman roster.
The Thorns' preseason will not start for some time yet, but the team is continuing to refine their championship winning squad. Amber Brooks is not the only player connected to the Thorns in recent weeks as the team continues to look overseas to bring in more talent.
One player that the Thorns are likely chasing has to be Spanish playmaker Veronica Boquete, formerly of Riley's Philadelphia Independence side, with whom she won the WPS Player of the Year Award.