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Search of Shame

For as many times as I have written about the USWNT on this site, which let’s be clear, is A LOT, I admit that I do not have an NWSL team that I fully support and root for. Thus began my shame fueled search for a new lifelong fandom.

NWSL by Jamie Smed is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Search of Shame


Estimated Reading Time: 6 Minutes

Are you disappointed in me for what I’m about to say? Because I’m disappointed in myself for what I’m about to say. Well, there are many reasons I’m disappointed in myself but they have nothing to do with what I’m about to admit.

For as many times as I have written about the USWNT on this site, which let’s be clear, is A LOT, I admit that I do not have an NWSL team that I fully support and root for. I confess that it took me viewing this video of Portland Thorns players reacting to receiving their new kits to come to this realization and for that I am ashamed of myself. With having now admitted my shame, I decided to launch into an investigation of which team would capture my heart and whose kit I would furthermore rock in public.

When it comes to picking teams there are plenty of opportunities for establishing fandom. Most likely you become a fan of your hometown or current locations teams. Or love of certain teams is handed down and shared throughout generations of your family.

This leads me to the next set of criteria. You may also then end up picking a team based on a certain player(s) that you follow and/or team names, logos, colors, uniforms etc. Personally I lean more towards the first set of criteria than the second. But it sure doesn’t hurt to have some dope gear to represent with either.

With these outlines established I decided to delve into what I have deemed the “Shame Fueled Search” for a team to get behind.

Location and History

Seeing as how Detroit has no NWSL team, at least not yet, hometown allegiance is out of the running. The league itself hasn’t even been around for a full decade, at least not in it’s current version, so that takes any generational connection to a team out of the running. So it’s up to secondary locations and extended family ties to help me here.

I lived in New York City for over a decade so that would easily put Sky Blue in the running given their proximity to the city. Orlando and Portland hold strong family connections seeing as how my two closest female cousins live there and one of them used to dance for the Trailblazers. So for those reasons the Pride and the Thornes are also sitting high up on the list.

The Carolina Courage could make a random convincing argument for themselves given the states’ history of dominance on the collegiate level at UNC. Under the leadership of the legendary Anson Dorrance it produced such super stars as Mia Hamm and Kristine Lilly, amongst others, in the early history of US Women’s Soccer. And they are reigning league champions. I love me some Julie Ertz but I can’t in good conscience root for a Chicago team so the Red Stars are out.

As for the rest, well I don’t really have any legitimate reasoning here.

It’s all pretty ridiculous rationale on my part. I’m honestly not intrigued by rooting for a D.C. team. Sorry, Spirit. Congrats to your city though for beating the Houston Trash-Stros in the World Series. Guess that pretty much knocks out the Houston Dash too by just simply being associated with that city. Plus, Texas already has too many sports teams as it is. Shout-out to their orange kits though. You almost had me.

Speaking of another city/state with a history of dope uniforms that I just can’t seem to make myself care about, here’s looking at you Utah Royals. You’re just a little too random of a market for me and you share a name with the Tigers AL Central Division rivals the Kansas City Royals. I’m sorry OL Reign, it’s not your fault that you also happen to be located in the Pacific Northwest. It’s not you, it’s me. My ties to the other team in your region are just too strong. So you’re out too.

Again, none of this is very sound reasoning or logic. It’s just the random ways my brain is working these days.

Player Styles

Through the process of elimination given the location and family guidelines plus lots of irrational thinking it appears that I’ve actually narrowed it down to 3 teams. So naturally for the next step I would want look at their rosters and see if there is any single player, or collection of players, that may sway my rooting interests.

Sky Blue

The biggest draws here are clearly Carli Lloyd. It would be a very easily justifiable decision given that I lived in the New York/New Jersey area for as long as I did. I love me some Mal Pugh as well and she’s clearly another strong nationally recognized name and one of the up and coming faces of the National Team. But, that’s about all they’ve got going for me.

Orlando Pride

From just a roster standpoint this team has several players that make it easy to root for them. Starting with USWNT leader and new mom, Alex Morgan, this team is full of USWNT teammates of hers. It also includes Marta, arguably the greatest Brazilian female footballer to have ever graced the pitch.

On top of that their white, teal, and purple color combination kits are a chefs kiss of a creation. A welcomed addition of colors to my apparel collection. When it comes to the team name of “Pride,” one can’t help but think of the LGBTQ community. and the amount of events they can hold to honor it. Especially given that they are a league filled with players who proudly represent that community. They even carry both members of the leagues most recognizable couple in Ashlyn Harris and Ali Krieger. So, big bonus points for that! I guess the biggest downside to this team is that they play in Florida. But hey, if going to one of their games means a side to trip to Disney World count me in.

Portland Thorns

So as I watched the video from the beginning of the piece I kept having the same reaction. With each player that was revealed I kept thinking, “she’s on this team too?! Woah!” Which leads me to their roster. It’s an embarrassment of riches. First there’s Megan Klingenberg, then Adrianna Franch, next is Carla Overbeck* re-incarnate Becky Sauerbrunn holding down the backline.

(*Hey Netflix, I forgot to mention that I would make a pretty good Carla Overbeck as well)

In front of her, is the powerful head and foot combination that is Lindsey Horan who is then followed by Canadian great Christine Sinclair. It should be mentioned that Sinclair is the all-time record holder for international goals scored by either a man or a woman. And it’s topped off by Tobin Heath who holds the distinction of being the person that Katie Nolan would most like to be punched in the face by. I mean, you can’t really argue with me on this one.

With a roster that includes so many threats it’s no wonder that the name of Thorns suits them perfectly. Pretty to look at but dangerous to the touch and representative of a strong love. Though their dominant colors are red, black, and white there’s a touch of green that can be added to their apparel that makes it an appealing addition to an otherwise standard team color combo.

Decision Time

So in conclusion, I, Katie Pierce, would like to officially announce that I am a famously lifelong fan of the Portland Thorns.

I can’t wait to faithfully follow them once league play can safely resume. Thanks for letting me think this through out loud in front of you all.

An actor by degree, sports lover by day, and a bartender by night. As a native of suburban Detroit it took moving to NYC for Katie to fully realize her love of all things Michigan and Detroit sports. Feel free to engage her in her love of the coolest city and prettiest state in the country and why she will always root for Ohio State to lose every sporting event ever. No, really I am dead serious about that last statement.

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