With the start to the second NWSL season rapidly approaching, the Portland Thorns have made two more additions to their roster, bringing on board defenders Courtney Niemiec and Katarina Tarr. Following on the heels of the high profile signing of Veronica Boquete on Monday, the pair add defensive depth to a team that has looked thin at the back despite a stacked attack up front.
Niemiec went undrafted in this year's NWSL College Draft after playing four years at fullback and in the midfield for La Salle University. Throughout her college career Niemiec was a steady contributor for the Explorers, regularly chipping in goals and assists. During the 2012 season, when she was named the Atlantic-10 Conference's Defensive Player of the Year, Niemiec had three goals and five assists.
A native of Vancouver, Washington, Tarr is making her return to Portland after spending the last four years abroad in Germany. A solid central defender, Tarr played the last three seasons with Germany's SGS Essen, where she made 43 appearances. With the recent trade of Katheryn Williamson, who played every game at centerback for the Thorns in 2013, backup for this position was needed.
The signings leave the Thorns with 22 players listed on the team's roster, over the league limit of 20. With Boquete, Tobin Heath, and Stephanie Caitley arriving over the summer the Thorns could be temporarily under the limit, but, whether it is before the start of the season or before their arrivals, changes will have to be made.
The Thorns' press release:
THORNS FC SIGN COURTNEY NIEMIEC AND KATARINA TARR
Defenders to join Portland for 2014 NWSL season
PORTLAND, Ore. — Portland Thorns FC today announced that the club has signed defenders Courtney Niemiec and Katarina Tarr. Per league and club policy, terms of the agreements were not disclosed.
Niemiec, 21, earned Atlantic 10 Conference Defensive Player of the Year recognition in 2012 and was one of La Salle University’s most consistent defenders during her senior season, garnering a first-team all-conference mention following the 2013 season. Anchoring a defense that allowed only 18 goals in 2013, Niemiec helped the Explorers to a third consecutive NCAA Tournament berth. A Philadelphia native, Niemiec recorded eight goals and 14 assists for La Salle, while featuring in 87 matches for the program as a four-year starter.
Tarr, 26, spent the last four seasons playing abroad in Germany, featuring in defense for Frauen Bundesliga club SGS Essen from 2010-2013. A Pacific Northwest native, the defender made 43 appearances (41 starts) for SGS Essen in all competitions over three seasons with the top-flight German club. Following a four-year career at the University of Missouri (2005-08), Tarr was drafted in the eighth round of the 2009 Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) College Draft by the Chicago Red Stars. The defender appeared in 14 matches for the Buffalo Flash of the USL W-League in 2009, before signing with German club Tennis Borussia Berlin in January 2010.
Born: April 13, 1992, in Philadelphia, Pa.
Hometown: Philadelphia, Pa.
College: La Salle University
Citizenship United States
Born: April 10, 1987, in Whitefish, Mont.
Hometown: Vancouver, Wash.
College: University of Missouri
Citizenship: United States