Portland Thorns' title-winning coach leaves team - KPTV - FOX 12

Portland Thorns' title-winning coach leaves team

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PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

Cindy Cone, who guided the Portland Thorns to a National Women's Soccer League championship in the league's inaugural season, is stepping down as the team's head coach.

Cone thanked the organization, players and fans on Twitter, saying it was a difficult decision but best for her family.

"Thank you to Gavin (Wilkinson, the team's general manager) and Merritt (Paulson, the team's owner) for this amazing opportunity, for their unwavering support and for respecting my decision to step down," she wrote.

She did not elaborate on what led her to call it quits as the Thorns' head coach.

Cone is one of the all-time leading scorers for the U.S. Women's National Team and a FIFA Women's World Cup champion.

She played nine years on the U.S. Women's National Team and won gold medals at the 1996 and 2004 Olympics.

Following her playing career, she served as an assistant coach for the women's soccer program at the University of North Carolina. The team won national championships in 2009 and 2012.

As head coach of the Thorns, she led Portland to a NWSL title victory over the Western New York Flash back in September. The Thorns' season was viewed as a massive success, not only because of the championship, but because of the attendance records seen at JELD-WEN Field over the course of the season.

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