Thorns’ Hire Mike Norris

Image via Fox Sports

Image via Fox Sports

Liliana Jamenez

The Portland Thorns officially have a new Head Coach, in promoted assistant coach Mike Norris. Norris was the assistant head coach of the Portland Thorns, and will now lead the team as the head coach. Norris was the assistant coach for the 2022 season, and with his help, the Thorns won their third National Women’s Soccer League championship, Thorns FC finished second in the NWSL table with a record of 10-3-9, and made their sixth consecutive trip to the NWSL postseason. Statistically, Portland scored a league-best 45 goals, the third-most goals in a single season in NWSL history, and posted a +25-goal differential.

Some words that Norris had to say about being a head coach were, “I would like to thank the organization for trusting me to lead this team into the next chapter.I know it will take hard work and a commitment from all involved to grow and get better as we aim for continued success. It is a great privilege to have inherited a team that is hungry, driven and talented, and I am excited to give everything to the players, the club, and the Portland community as the head coach of the Portland Thorns.”.

“We are excited to have Mike move into our head coach position,” said Rhian Wilkinson (Thorns FC General Manager).

Before Mike Norris spent his time with the Portland Thorns, he was very involved in Canadian soccer during his coaching career. The Englishman spent time with the Canada women’s U-17 and U-20 teams over the span of six years, serving a variety of coaching roles, as the goalkeeping coach, and interim head coach with the U-20s, while also providing support to the senior team during qualification tournaments. In addition, Norris worked as the head goalkeeping coach for the U-14 and U-15 Vancouver Whitecaps FC Boys Residency teams (2014-16).

Rhian Wilkinson also thought that Norris would be a great new head coach and since Norris was the new head coach Wilkinson stepped down as head coach after it was revealed she had a relationship with a player. In her lone season, Wilkinson led the Thorns to their third NWSL title in club history.

Wilkinson described Norris as well-respected, “He is hard-working, diligent and thorough in his planning, a strong on-field coach with a deep understanding of the game and a great person away from the field,” Wilkinson said.

On January 9th, the Thorns held a press conference with Norris and LeBlanc, introducing him as the fifth head coach in team history. The common themes throughout the introductory press conference were continuity, player buy-in, and safety.

This is what Mike Norris had to say about being the head coach for the Thorns, “Obviously huge honor, very grateful to be named the head coach of the Portland Thorns. A club with a great history of success, and a terrific fan base, which I experienced last year. So just really proud and excited for the challenge ahead and to get started.”

Now Norris will be the Thorns’ fifth head coach as they enter their 11th season.

By the looks of it, it looks like Norris will be doing really well with the team since he was with the team already for so long but hopefully, the thorns do well.