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Thorns Acquire Rights to Lianne Sanderson, 1st Round Pick

Sanderson previous played for Paul Riley in Philadelphia in 2010 and 2011

Stu Forster/Getty Images

The Portland Thorns have acquired the NWSL rights to English international forward Lianne Sanderson and Seattle's 2016 1st Round pick in exchange for the Thorns 2016 1st and 3rd Round picks, the Thorns announced Thursday afternoon.

Sanderson's rights had been traded earlier in the day to Seattle by the Boston Breakers for a 2016 2nd Round pick.

In a corresponding move, defender Rhian WIlkinson was placed on the disabled list.

Sanderson, 27, most recently appeared for England alongside Jodie Taylor in the 2015 Women's World Cup, making appearances against Colombia and Germany on their way to finishing third in the competition, drawing the penalty kick that earned England the victory over Germany.  She has made 49 appearances for the Lionesses, scoring 15 goals.

At the club level, Sanderson most recently appeared for Arsenal Ladies in England's F.A. WSL, playing in 6 matches.  Prior to Arsenal, Sanderson made 41 appearances for the Boston Breakers, scoring 10 goals between 2013 and 2014.

Sanderson has signification experience in the United States, having appeared for WPS side Philadelphia Independence, coached by Paul Riley, and DC United Women in the USL W-League.  She has also appeared for Chelsea in England, Espanyol in Spain, and Apollon Limassol in Cyprus.

Sanderson adds another attacking player to the mix for the Thorns, not only for this season, but for next season as well, as England nor Great Britain will not field  soccer squads at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Portland Thorns Press Release

England international to join Portland in 2015

PORTLAND, Ore. – Portland Thorns FC today announced that the club has acquired the rights to midfielder Lianne Sanderson and a 2016 first-round draft pick from Seattle Reign FC in exchange for Portland’s 2016 first-round and third-round draft picks. Possessing a green card, Sanderson would not occupy an international roster spot for Portland. Per league and club policy, terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Sanderson, 27, has scored 15 goals and earned 49 international caps for the England Women’s National Team, appearing in two FIFA Women’s World Cup tournaments for the Three Lionesses (2007, 2015). At the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup, Sanderson played in two matches, including a 1-0 win over Germany in the third-place game as she drew a penalty kick in extra time that led to the game-winning goal by Fara Williams.

"Lianne is a bona fide creator with ability to hurt you with a final ball or beat you on the dribble," said Thorns FC head coach Paul Riley. "Having had the pleasure of coaching her before I understand what she brings both on the field and in the locker room. She loves competition, she revels in a great team spirit and her ability with the ball will be a massive plus for us."

At the club level, Sanderson has competed at the highest levels professionally in the United States, England, Cyprus and Spain. Most recently, Sanderson played with English side Arsenal Ladies, re-singing with the club in November 2014. Sanderson began her professional career with Arsenal at the youth level as a nine year old in 1997 and began playing with the first team in 2003. Following her time at Arsenal, Sanderson moved to Chelsea Ladies in 2008, playing two seasons. In addition, Sanderson had professional stints with Espanyol (2011-12) in Spain and on loan at Apollon Limassol in Cyprus.
Before returning to Arsenal ahead of the FIFA Women’s World Cup, Sanderson played in the NWSL during the 2013 and 2014 seasons with the Boston Breakers. In two seasons with the club, Sanderson appeared in 41 games (38 starts), tallying 10 goals and 10 assists, while garnering NWSL Second XI honors in 2013.

During her time in England, Sanderson won five league titles and four FA Cups with Arsenal. Notably during the 2006-07 campaign, Sanderson scored 48 goals across all competitions, helping lead the team to the quadruple (Premier League, FA Cup, League Cup and UEFA Cup) and also led the league in scoring during both the 2006-07 and 2007-08 campaigns.

Sanderson also played in Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) under the direction of Riley with the Philadelphia Independence in 2010 and 2011. In two seasons, she helped lead the club to consecutive appearances in the WPS Championship match, scoring 10 goals.

Additionally, defender Rhian Wilkinson has been placed on the disabled list for Thorns FC.

Lianne Sanderson
Pronunciation: lee-ANN
Position: Midfielder
Height: 5-6

Born: Feb. 3, 1988

Hometown: London, England

Last Club: Arsenal Ladies FC (England)

College: n/a

Citizenship: England