Leaving North Carolina was hard, but loving Portland is easy. How Cindy Parlow Cone came to Thorns FC
"It's an interesting challenge to create a team from nothing," Parlow Cone said. "In my previous experiences, we always had a core. In college, you lost the seniors and gained the freshmen, but you always had a core group and you built around them. Here, we had none of that."
The U.S. Soccer Federation is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year and has often highlighted various important moments through out its history.
Yesterday, fourteen years ago, Portland Thorns FC head coach Cindy Parlow Cone - then just Cindy Parlow -helped make history providing the key assist to fellow U.S. Women's National Team legend Mia Hamm on her 108th career international goal in a friendly against Brazil. That strike put Hamm atop the list for most international goals scored by any male or female player in history.
Hamm went on to score 158 goals in 275 total caps. Cone, no slouch herself, bagged 75 goals in 175 career caps.
Current Western New York Flash forward Abby Wambach is closing in on Hamm's record though. She sits at 155. Portland's Alex Morgan, still only 23, has 42, and Christine Sinclair is third on the all-time list with 145 goals.
Thorns FC teammates Alex Morgan and Rachel Buehler are currently with the U.S. national team in Holland preparing for their friendly with The Netherlands tomorrow. Training alongside them are FC Kansas City's Becky Sauerbrunn, Nicole Barnhart, and Lauren Cheney. Though they'll all be on the same side tomorrow, they'll be battling against each other on Saturday. Hear from each of them as they discuss the opcoming NWSL season opening match.
Thorns FC forward Alex Morgan scores on 100th birthday of U.S. Soccer; Christine Sinclair assists for Canada
On the U.S. Soccer Federation's 100th birthday, Thorns FC forward Alex Morgan and the U.S. Women's National Team had a bit of a crazy game against Germany this morning. Despite taking a 3-1 lead on goals by Abby Wambach (47th minute), Megan Rapinoe (55) and Morgan (71), Germany battled back with two late goals in the 85th and 86th minute in front of 16,090 fans in Offenbach, Germany. Second-half sub Sydney Leroux had a late effort saved off the line in one of the wilder games in recent U.S. WNT memory.
Morgan started and played the full 90 minutes for the United States, while Thorns FC defender Rachel Buehler was an unused substitute. Midfielder Tobin Heath, who will join Thorns FC this summer after playing out her contract with French side Paris Saint-Germain, entered the match in the 77th minute for Heather O'Reilly.
Morgan's goal in the 71st minute came off a long, curling pass over the top of Germany's defense from FC Kansas City midfielder Lauren Cheney.
On Thursday morning, Thorns FC forward Christine Sinclair and the Canada Women's National Team tangled with France in a rematch of the London 2012 Olympics bronze-medal match (which Canada won). Despite going down 1-0 during first-half stoppage time on a well-placed Elodie Thomis goal, Canada kept it close and struck late in second-half stoppage time.
Sinclair collected a deflected ball and slipped a pass right into the path of Kaylyn Kyle in the fourth-minute of second-half stoppage time and Kyle netted the equalizer for Canada in front of 5,783 fans at Stade du Ray in Nice, France. Thorns FC goalkeeper Karina LeBlanc was an unused sub for the match.
Canada is back in action on Sunday, April 7 at 7 a.m. (Pacific) against England at New York Stadium in Rotherham, England. The U.S. Women's National Team visits The Hague, Netherlands on Tuesday, April 9, for a 10 a.m. (PT) match against the Netherlands at Kyocera Stadium.
Grant Wahl of Sports Illustrated, fresh from his revealing MLS player polls, recently put together a grand list of the 50 most important people in U.S. Soccer. It has many of the names you'd expect. The top 5 are, in order: U.S. Sports TV executives, U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati, MLS commissioner Don Garber, Nike and adidas.
Of local note though are two rather big names. Coming in at No. 9 is Thorns FC forward Alex Morgan of which Wahl writes:
Let's be honest: the 23-year-old Morgan has everything it takes (on the field and off) to become the next Mia Hamm. Just one example of her appeal: Morgan has in excess of a million Twitter followers, more than any U.S. soccer player, male or female.
Young owners who live and die with their MLS teams, Heineman and Paulson are the faces of MLS 2.0 and the league's answers to Mark Cuban. If only every league owner cared as much.
Head over to SI.com to read the full list. Any names missing you think should be on there? Any names on there you disagree with?
Two years ago, Portland Timbers midfielder Jack Jewsbury teamed up with Ziba Design to help create a special bag as part of Girls, Inc's annual Power of The Purse fundraiser. You can see video of Jack's creation here.
This year, new Thorns FC head coach Cindy Parlow Cone takes up the challenge in designing a purse. Girls, Inc.--one of the Thorns main Stand Together partners--is an organization that inspires girls, ages 8-18, to be strong, smart, and bold. Via gender-specific programs and research-based curricula, the group provides girls with the confidence and self-esteem to access a bright and economically-independent future.
Cone sat down with Bella, a 7th grader from Da Vinci Middle School and a host of Girls, Inc. Radio, for a special interview where Bella interviews Cindy and then Cindy, in turn, interviews Bella. They talk about their respective background, sisterhood, and inspirations. It's a great listen (scroll to the bottom to hear Cone's interview).
To learn more about the Power of the Purse event and to purchase tickets, visit them here.
The U.S. Women’s National Team vs. Canada at the London 2012 Olympics. That’s really all that needs to be said, but in case you were on a trip to the Outback last summer and didn’t have access to a TV, internet, newspaper or any other form of news media here’s a quick refresher.
August 6, 2012 … Old Trafford … Manchester, England ... Olympic Semifinal
Christine Sinclair gives Canada a 1-0 lead 22 minutes into the match in front of 26,640 fans at famed Old Trafford, home of Manchester United, and the teams enter the interval with Canada grasping a 1-0 lead and a chance to head to the gold medal match.
USA midfielder Megan Rapinoe equalizes in the 54th minute and the match becomes a slugfest with Sinclair and Rapinoe (both former standouts at the University of Portland) trading goals. Sinclair nets her second goal, putting Canada ahead 2-1 in the 67th minute … Rapinoe hits back with her second, tying the score at 2-2 three minutes later in the 70th minute.
Sinclair gets a hat-trick with the go-ahead goal in the 73rd minute and Canada carries a one-goal lead into the final 10 minutes of regular time before the real drama kicks in. Canada’s goalkeeper Erin McLeod is called for holding onto the ball for more than six seconds – a rarely enforced rule, but one that awards the U.S. with an indirect free kick inside Canada’s penalty box. On the free kick, the ball strikes a Canadian player on the arm and a penalty kick is called.
Abby Wambach steps up and buries the spot kick to level the score at 3-3 in the 80th minute.
The two sides battled to a stalemate through 30 minutes of extra time, trading jabs before U.S. forward Alex Morgan rose up and looped a header into the goal in the third minute of stoppage time, the game’s 123rd minute to be exact and the latest ever goal scored in a FIFA competition.
Now, catch your breath.
The rematch is coming on June 2 in Toronto as the U.S. Women’s National Team faces Canada in an international (not so) friendly for the first time since that drama-filled Olympic semifinal match. Mark your calendar as several Thorns FC teammates could potentially clash on the field. Clearly, there are no medals on the line, but there's no doubt the intensity will be heightened as Canada will look to repay the USA for the match last summer.
There's no debating the crossover between music and sports and ESPN The Magazine brings the connection to the forefront with this year's Music Issue. The Mag got creative with this issue, having athletes impersonating various album covers.
Some of the highlights include Oympic gold medal swimmer Ryan Lochte as the swimming baby on Nirvana's iconic "Nevermind" cover, Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman as Michael Jackson on the cover of "Thriller" and let's not forget about Thorns FC forward Alex Morgan, who graces the issue as pop star Katy Perry in her "One of the Boys" cover.
The issue doesn't hit the shelves until Feb. 8, but ESPN released some behind-the-scenes video and photos of the creative process.
You can take a look at Morgan's album cover here.
A distinguished career with the U.S. Women’s National Team including 158 international appearances, a champion in the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup and a two-time Olympic gold medal winner, Portland Thorns FC head coach Cindy Parlow Cone is now up for another honor: Election to the National Soccer Hall of Fame.
Voting (which does not include a fan vote) started on Jan. 25 and will continue until Feb. 22; results will be announced shortly after. A player must be listed on at least 66.7 percent of the ballots in order to be elected to the Hall of Fame.
Parlow Cone, who last played for the Women’s National Team in 2004, scored 75 goals throughout her international career. Following her debut against Russia in January 1996, the Memphis, Tenn., native, appeared in three Olympic Games (1996, 2000, 2004) as well as the 1999 and 2003 FIFA Women’s World Cup tournaments. She ranks sixth overall on the Women’s National Team career points list with 185 (75 goals and 35 assists), as well as second overall in career hat-tricks (8) just behind Mia Hamm (10).
“I feel very honored to be on the ballot for the National Soccer Hall of Fame,” Parlow Cone said. “I am so proud and feel so fortunate to have been able to represent the United States on the international stage. Now, as a coach in the NWSL for Portland Thorns FC, I’m really looking forward to continuing the development of women’s soccer.”
On the professional side, Parlow Cone played four seasons in the Women’s United Soccer Association (WUSA), all of them with the Atlanta Beat. She was a member of the Atlanta teams that finished as runner-up for the WUSA title in 2001 and 2003.
Other notable players on the Class of 2013 ballot include: Chris Armas, Wade Barrett, Mauricio Cienfuegos, Raul Diaz Arce, Marco Etcheverry, Lorrie Fair, Robin Fraser, Chris Henderson, Angela Hucles, Jason Kreis, Roy Lassiter, Shannon MacMillan, Joe-Max Moore, Victor Nogueira, John O’Brien, Ben Olsen, Ante Razov, Tiffany Roberts, Tony Sanneh, Taylor Twellman and Tisha Venturini-Hoch.
After today's NWSL allocation of national team players, much of the early chatter has been about the incredible forward pairing of Alex Morgan and Christine Sinclair. And with good reason. Combined, the pair scored 51 goals over 53 matches for the United States and Canada in 2012.
But perhaps the steal of the day was in acquiring midfielder Tobin Heath. Long considered one of the best up-and-coming midfielders on the USWNT, Heath won three NCAA national championships with the University of North Carolina. Her final one, in 2009, had current Thorns FC head coach Cindy Parlow Cone as an assistant on the team.
But it is also known in soccer circles that Heath is a master of the trick shot and ball skills. A while back, while on the road with the USWNT, Heath went on a simple walkabout. But this is hardly the simple walkabout you and I might make. WATCH:
Tip of the hat to soccer writer Charles Boehm.