Thorns FC tryouts force tough decisions from coaching staff
Last weekend more than 80 women’s soccer players from around the country met at JELD-WEN Field to test their skills against each other with the hope of impressing Thorns FC head coach Cindy Parlow Cone and her staff enough to earn an invitation to the club’s preseason training camp in March with the ultimate goal of being signed by the team for the inaugural National Women’s Soccer League season.
“I was not only surprised by the numbers that we had at the first Thorns FC tryouts, but also by the quality,” the former U.S. Women’s National Team forward said. “There were some quality players. So many in fact, that it will be difficult for me to choose which ones to bring into our preseason training camp.”
With a mix of local and out-of-state players and ages ranging up to 50-years-old, the talent level was rich and the competition tough and serious as the players tried to balance showcasing their individual talents as well as contributing to their team dynamic.
Saturday’s session was split into two groups of nearly 40 players each, and was further divided into four teams competing in half-field, 8v8 matches as Cone and her staff guided and watched. Sunday featured groups of full-field, 11v11 matches to further test the players’ fitness, skills and decision making abilities in a game atmosphere.
The overall impressions were extremely positive from Cone following tryouts.
“This tryout will definitely benefit Thorns FC this season,” she said. “I can guarantee that there will be players that attended tryouts that will be on our roster.
“We are very fortunate in Portland because a lot of players would like to play here,” Cone continued. “We had players fly in from all over the county to try out for the team and many of them I knew already from being a college coach, but some of them I had never seen play before.”
Preseason training camp is expected to begin in early March, with the regular season beginning nearly a month later in April.