The NWSL Portland Thorns
The Portland Thorns FC, a franchise that has persistently been at the heart of the National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) since its inception in 2013, showcases the remarkable blend of history, community involvement, and thrilling soccer that this city truly embodies. Established as one of the eight inaugural clubs of the NWSL, the Thorns have since rooted themselves deep into the foundation of American women's professional soccer.
Each home match for the Thorns is a spectacle at Providence Park, an iconic, historic stadium located in downtown Portland. Dating back to 1893, it is the oldest professional soccer stadium still in use in the United States. The venue holds over 25,000 fans, and the Thorns often sell out, showcasing the impressive supporter base and vibrant atmosphere.
In recent years, the Thorns have proven their mettle with strong performances in the NWSL playoffs. With two championship titles to their name in 2013 and 2017, the team remains a perennial contender, persistently posing a formidable challenge to any opposition.
Moreover, their fierce rivalry with the OL Reign FC, known as the Cascadia rivalry, is one of the most intense in women's soccer. The cities' proximity and historical sports rivalry set the stage for this competition, but it's the shared excellence of both teams that keeps the flame alive and burning brightly. The meetings between these two sides are always highly anticipated, drawing large crowds and stirring excitement in the league.
Perhaps, however, what truly sets the Thorns apart is their commitment to promoting social causes. The team has been instrumental in highlighting women's equality and youth soccer development, using their platform to raise awareness and advocate change. This dynamic approach transcends the traditional boundaries of sport, positioning the Thorns as a model franchise in the modern era of professional soccer.
From their robust history and impressive stadium to their deep-seated rivalries and social impact, the Portland Thorns embody the spirit of the beautiful game. Their unyielding dominance, both on and off the field, positions them as a significant pillar in the landscape of women's professional soccer, not just in the United States, but worldwide.