Teamwork makes the dream work

USWNT star Sophia Smith indicators contract extension with Portland for NWSL-high annual wage


Sophia Smith had choices however ultimately felt like she “wasn’t completed” in Portland.

The Thorns introduced Wednesday that they signed Smith to a contract extension by way of 2025, with a participant possibility for 2026. Portland says the deal provides the 23-year-old ahead the best annual wage within the Nationwide Girls’s Soccer League however wouldn’t disclose phrases.

“I’ve felt so welcomed and so liked and so believed in and I simply felt like I wasn’t completed right here. And there is nonetheless issues that I wish to do with this group and this membership and trophies I wish to win,” she stated. “And simply with new possession coming in, I’ve already felt that this membership is simply entering into the precise route.”

The Thorns have been offered in January to the Bhathal household, which can also be a part of the possession group of the NBA’s Sacramento Kings.

Smith is embarking on her fifth season with the Thorns. She was the NWSL‘s most respected participant and the U.S. Soccer participant of the 12 months in 2022. She was additionally the NWSL championship sport MVP that 12 months. She was set to grow to be a free agent after this season and had some curiosity from European golf equipment.

“It is a new period for us and the Bhathal household have been very away from the imaginative and prescient that they’ve for this membership. And we’re all aligned in that imaginative and prescient. And one of many key elements was to be sure that Sophia Smith was right here,” normal supervisor Karina LeBlanc stated. “For her, it is a place she all the time needed to be. For her to signal this contract, I believe we’re eight months forward of when she truly might have made it play out. She’s like, ‘I simply needed to get the season going and I simply needed this to be completed.'”

Smith was the highest decide within the NWSL draft in 2020 after serving to Stanford to a victory over North Carolina within the 2019 NCAA School Cup championship. She scored three objectives within the Cardinal’s semifinal victory over UCLA and was named the School Cup’s most respected participant.

She has scored 40 objectives throughout all competitions with the Thorns, and her 11 objectives final season — in 17 matches — earned her the league’s Golden Boot award.

A daily on the U.S. nationwide group, Smith performed in final summer time’s Girls’s World Cup. She has scored 16 objectives in 44 appearances since her U.S. debut in 2020.

Smith stated she needs to take a higher management function on the Thorns.

“I do not consider anybody is ideal or any participant has hit their full potential ever. So I believe for me, I wish to develop into extra of a management function on this group. I wish to be a participant that type of brings everybody round me into video games,” she stated. “I believe that is a giant factor for me, is being much less particular person and bringing my teammates into video games, no matter that appears like, and simply type of making this group one thing actually particular and contributing to that in any manner that I can.”

Smith credited the brand new possession with making her extra snug. The group had been put up on the market in late 2022 after a misconduct scandal involving a former Thorns coach shook the league.

“I’ve simply been ready for some stability and a few reassurance that this membership is headed in the precise route and the Bhathal household coming in is doing precisely that, if no more,” she stated. “Their imaginative and prescient for this membership is so thrilling. You may simply inform how passionate they’re about making this what it needs to be, and persevering with to push the usual in girls’s soccer globally, and making the Portland Thorns a middle of that and in any manner that they’ll.”

Reported by The Related Press.

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