Announcement of decision to sell Portland Thorns FC

Portland spines are special. They mean a lot to me. They mean a lot to the city of Portland. Women’s sports funds are understood globally.

Previous iterations of the top-flight American women’s professional league hadn’t made it for three years now, and when the NWSL decided to form as recently as 2013, I had no illusions that it would be easy. I still believed in women’s soccer, and I believed that something was possible in Portland that had never been done before.

Every step of the way, the Portland Thorns have exceeded expectations. Our success sometimes garners global attention on the pitch, but the work that was done at the league level was in many ways the most powerful in supporting the NWSL to its state of growth and success today.

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The Portland Thorns are the first three-time NWSL Champions, and have broken attendance records since 2013. The club has been at the forefront of building what women’s diseases have become in this country and the world.

The past year has been a challenging one for our Club and our players. We regret the role of our organization in failings identified by research. Despite these challenges, the Portland Thorns have a bright future ahead of them and have a lot left to accomplish.

In order to fully realize that potential, I believe it is most important for the Spines to have a new owner, so that the Club can act with a new voice at the league level to be a driving force for the NWSL. This was a difficult decision for me, but I believe this is the best way to position the Thorns for continued success in this next chapter of the NWSL and the sport.

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We are committed to continuing to work collaboratively with the NWSL to ensure that we find the right group to take the reins. We don’t rush into the plan, just like our players, for Portland and for women’s soccer, we want to get it.

The change of ownership with the Spines will not affect Peregrine Sports’ ownership of the Timbers, and we will be a key partner to the new ownership group of the Spines, as we believe the team should call Providence Park their home.

I am fully committed to doing whatever is necessary to ensure a smooth transition and continued success for the Thorns, including fair employment conditions for Providence Park, which will allow the Thorns to continue to capitalize on their popularity in Portland. Additionally, in evaluating the new owner we want to be sure that our ongoing efforts to achieve the highest level of flight training facility continue for the team.

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Finally, I will make a one million dollar pledge to establish the NWSL Player Safety Office. I love Commissioner Berman’s vision and am proud to be the seed head for the initiative.

I’m so proud of what the Portland Thorns have done. I had the honor of working with these incredible athletes as they made history on the pitch. While this decision is not easy for me, I believe it is the right one for the Club, the league and Portland.


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