New Portland Thorns head coach Mark Parsons continued putting his stamp on the remade side over the 2015-16 offseason today as the team brought in his former player with the Washington Spirit, defender Katherine Reynolds, and sending defender Alyssa Kleiner to the Spirit in return.
Australian defender Clare Polkinghorne was also waived by the Thorns today, reportedly due to Australia's probable qualification for the Olympics.
Reynolds, 28, made eighteen appearances at right back for the Spirit last season and has been a steady contributor since going pro out of college. Most notably, Reynolds was on the regular season winning Western New York Flash side that faced the Thorns in the inaugural NWSL Playoff Final, ultimately losing to Portland in the league's first championship match.
By bringing in Reynolds, the Thorns have continued shoring up their back line, transforming them from an afterthought behind the team's high powered attack into what should be one of the most consistent groups of defenders in the league.
Kleiner, 22, first appeared for the Thorns as an amateur player last season before being added to the full roster late in the season, making eight appearance for the side. Primarily a left back to Reynolds' right back, the swap is not quite like for like.
Polkinghorne, 27, joined the Thorns after the 2015 Women's World Cup and made nine appearances for the side.
The Thorns' press release:
THORNS FC ACQUIRE DEFENDER KATHERINE REYNOLDS FROM WASHINGTON SPIRIT IN EXCHANGE FOR DEFENDER ALYSSA KLEINER
Portland waives defender Clare Polkinghorne
PORTLAND, Ore. – Portland Thorns FC have acquired defender Katherine Reynolds from the Washington Spirit in exchange for defender Alyssa Kleiner, it was announced today. Per league and club policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed. Additionally, Portland has waived defender Clare Polkinghorne.
Reynolds, 28, appeared in 18 matches (all starts) for the Spirit during the 2015 regular season, logging 1,611 minutes. Prior to her arrival in Washington, Reynolds played two seasons in the NWSL with the Western New York Flash, appearing in 41 regular-season matches (all starts). In 2013, Reynolds played in 24 matches, tallying three assists for Western New York. The San Clemente, Calif., native helped the Flash capture the 2013 NWSL regular-season title and advance to the NWSL Championship match. Reynolds started both playoff games, tallying an assist in a 2-0 semifinal win against Sky Blue FC.
"Katherine is a hard-working, talented full back with great experience in the league," said Thorns FC head coach Mark Parsons. "She is a disciplined defender who loves to also join in the attack and has the athletic ability to do both very well."
Professionally, Reynolds has played in Australia with the Newcastle Jets (2014-15) and SC Freiburg in Germany (2012-13). She began her professional career in Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) in 2010, appearing in two games for the Philadelphia Independence during her rookie season. In 2011, Reynolds signed with the Atlanta Beat and appeared in 18 matches (all starts).
In one season for Thorns FC, Kleiner, 22, appeared in eight games (4 starts). She made her NWSL debut on May 9against Washington as a second-half substitute. In her second career start, Kleiner tallied the game-winning assist in a 2-1 win against Sky Blue FC on July 3 at Providence Park.
"We would like to thank Alyssa and Clare for their dedication and hard work during their time here in Portland and we wish them the very best," said Gavin Wilkinson, general manager of Thorns FC.
Polkinghorne, 27, signed with Thorns FC on June 29, 2015, and joined the club after the Australia Women’s National Team finished competing at the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup. During the 2015 season, Polkinghorne appeared in nine matches (all starts), making her NWSL debut on July 22 against Seattle.
Born: Sept. 14, 1987
Hometown: San Clemente, Calif.
Last Club: Washington Spirit (NWSL)
College: Santa Clara University