As the Thorns open their third NWSL season this Saturday against the Boston Breakers, we will profile the new faces donning the Thorns kit.
We begin with midfielder Sarah Robbins.
Born: July 30, 1992 in Montreal, Quebec
Hometown: Montreal, Quebec
College: University of Kansas
Last Club: Åland United (Finland)
Robbins, 22, was signed by the Thorns on January 26, 2015.
Spending 2014 with Finnish side Åland United of the Naisten Liiga, she recorded 3 goals and 7 assists over 14 league and the qualifying round of the 2014-2015 UEFA Women's Champions League matches. Prior to playing in Finland, Robbins played with Lavel Comets of the USL W-League from 2009-2013, winning the W-League Championship in 2013.
Playing collegiately at the University of Kansas, Robbins made 50 appearances for the Jayhawks, recording 1 goal and 4 assists.
Internationally, Robbins was a member of the Canadian U20 and U23 national teams, making 3 appearances in the 2012 U20 Women's World Cup, and was in the U17 player pool from 2006-2009.
Thorns head coach Paul Riley had this to say at the time of her signing:
"Sarah is a true holding midfielder with all the qualities required to play in a physical, fast-paced league. She is bright, technical, mobile and tactically very good. She will play an extremely important role that will allow our playmakers to create and attack and also adds a physical, tough, resilient element to our midfield."
Appearing in all three of the Thorns' preseason matches, Robbins started the March 21 match against the University of Portland, and was a second half substitution against FC Tucson and the University of Arizona.
Robbins appears to be a true holding midfielder who will sit back during the attack to protect against the counter, an area where the Thorns were burned on several occasions last season. While she will likely be relegated to the bench when the Thorns have a full roster, she be an invaluable piece during the numerous international absences the Thorns will endure throughout the 2015 season.
Matt's Take from Training-
The dedicated defensive midfielder that Paul Riley sought and acquired. Showed her positional acumen and ability to read the flow of the game in preseason, often covering for defenders and midfielders that pushed forward. This showed well in the 4-0 over the University of Portland as Long became more of a threat in the second half, knowing Robbins was there to cover. Robbins will be counted on to slow down counter attacks and reclaim clearances while always looking to plug any gaps.
Below is a lengthy highlight video from her time with Lavel Comets: