Thorns FC name Cindy Parlow Cone as head coach

Photo: Jeffrey A. Camarati, UNC Athletic Comm.
Photo: Jeffrey A. Camarati, UNC Athletic Comm.

Portland Thorns FC today named Cindy Parlow Cone, 34, one of the all-time leading scorers from the U.S. Women’s National Team, their first head coach for the inaugural season of the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL).

While this is Parlow Cone’s first professional head coaching job, she definitely brings an impressive pedigree and potential to Thorns FC.

Playing Career
– Parlow Cone recorded 68 goals and 53 assists during her collegiate career at the University of North Carolina (1995-98), and is one of 10 players in the program’s history to record 40 or more goals and assists in a career.
– 158 matches as a forward (75 goals and 35 assists) with the U.S. Women’s National Team (1996-2004) which included a 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup championship and gold medals at the 1996 and 2004 Olympic games.
– Parlow Cone played in the Women’s United Soccer Association (WUSA) for three seasons with the Atlanta Beat from 2001-03, leading the team to the postseason each season.

– Parlow Cone earned All-American honors all four years at UNC, won the Hermann Trophy in 1997 and 1998 as the nation’s top player and led the Tar Heels to back-to-back national titles in 1996 and 1997.
– Named the U.S. Soccer Young Female Athlete of the Year in 1998.
– Member of the 1999 U.S. Women’s National Team which was named Sports Illustrated’s 1999 Athlete of the Year.
– Inducted into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame in 2004.

– Parlow Cone holds a USSF “A” License and has participated in a FIFA Futuro III course.
– For the past six years, she has served as an assistant coach for the women’s soccer program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, helping guide the team to national championships in 2009 and 2012.
– Also over the same time, Parlow Cone was the Director of Coaching for Senior Girls Programs (U-15 to U-18) at Triangle United Soccer Association in Chapel Hill, N.C.
– Served as a member of the U.S. U-14 and U-15 Girls National Team coaching staffs since 2010.

“It is very exciting to be part of a new women’s league and to be a part of launching a new professional team in Portland. I’ve seen first-hand the great enthusiasm Portland has for soccer; it’s a soccer-smart fan base that generates an incredible atmosphere. I am very much looking forward to the first season of Thorns FC.” – Cindy Parlow Cone

Now that a head coach has been named, next up for Thorns FC and the rest of the clubs in the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) will be the announcement of the league schedule as well as the allocation of national team players.

We’ll have more news as it’s announced. What do you think of today’s Thorns FC news? Do you see Parlow Cone’s connections with the University of North Carolina as another positive for the club?


6 thoughts on “Thorns FC name Cindy Parlow Cone as head coach

  1. I’m very excited about this hire. We know she can play, now we’ll see if she can coach.

    I’ve often wondered if the team would attract a bunch of U of Portland alumnae. Now I wonder if we’ll get UNC alumnae, too. Though maybe it’s not the players who get to choose where they go.

    Here’s my biggest question: what will the crowds be like at Thorns games? Will the Timbers Army be there? All of it, or just some? Will the Thorns pack the place like the Timbers do? I’m very curious how this will all play out.

    1. I share your excitement! I’m not sure how exactly the support will play out in terms of TA and such, but I expect it may just happen organically, which would be cool. I think the possibility of U of P alumnae playing for Thorns FC will also draw in a lot of the folks from Villa Drum Squad.

      I’ve had some conversations with people who are close to some of the players and there’s no
      question that Portland is considered one of the hotspots. There’s already quite a nice list of players with ties to Portland and to UP (Abby Wambach, who just bought a home in PDX, Megan Rapinoe, Christine Sinclair, Sophie Schmidt, Stephanie Cox, etc…).

      My prediction is that Thorns FC will lead the league in attendance and may even break the record of average attendance set by the LA Sol in 2009 (somewhere in the neighborhood of almost 6,300).

      1. I don’t expect a run of sell-outs, but some game’s attendance in 5 figures? Sure. I definitely expect a big opener. If the scheduling doesn’t conflict with Timbers games (home or away), then that’ll be a boost to the attendance, so we’ll see how that works out. I’m not sure what kind of co-ordination, if any, there is between NWSL and MLS on that front.

  2. I’ve definitely got hope for the women’s league. As for the TA’s involvement, I know my daughter is pushing for a parallel group — she calls is the Thorns Alliance — to be that part of the TA (initials deliberate) that supports the Thorns. She hasn’t made a lot of noise yet, but I think it may go somewhere. Never underestimate a motivated high schooler.

    Working up the first Thorns Alliance scarf now…

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