The Portland Thorns have loaned United States international defender Rachel Van Hollebeke has been loaned to Iga Kunoichi of the Nadeshiko League, Japan's top-flight women's league. She will re-join the Thorns prior to the 2015 NWSL season.
Van Hollebeke, 29, was allocated to the Portland Thorns prior to the 2013 NWSL season, appearing in 32 matches (29 starts), over the past two seasons.
The move is a curious one, as Iga Kunoichi find themselves 1 point out of the relegation zone with three matches remaining through the month of October.
Joining the United States Women;s National Team in 2008, Van Hollebeke has recorded 112 caps, but was surprisingly left off the roster for the upcoming CONCACAF Women's Championship, hosted by the United States and being played from October 15-26, which will serve as qualifying for the 2015 Women's World Cup in Canada.
Video from Van Hollebeke's press conference is below. She begins speaking at 1:33.
Thorns Press Release-
THORNS FC DEFENDER RACHEL VAN HOLLEBEKE TO PLAY FOR JAPANESE CLUB IGA KUNOICHI DURING OFFSEASONVan Hollebeke will return to Portland before 2015 NWSL seasonPORTLAND, Ore. – Portland Thorns FC today announced that defender Rachel Van Hollebeke will play with Iga Kunoichi of the Nadeshiko League in Japan this offseason.In two seasons with Thorns FC, Van Hollebeke, 29, has appeared in 32 regular-season matches (29 starts), tallying three assists. A 2013 NWSL Second XI selection, Van Hollebeke started both NWSL playoff games en route to helping Portland win the inaugural NWSL championship in 2013.Since making her first appearance with the U.S. Women’s National Team in 2008, Van Hollebeke has earned 112 caps and scored five goals. Van Hollebeke competed in the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup, helping the United States to a runner-up finish and won a gold medal at the 2008 and 2012 Summer Olympics.Van Hollebeke will return to Portland before the start of the 2015 NWSL season.