Thorns fans rally as players arrive for first game since NWSL report

Published: Oct. 23, 2022 at 5:32 PM PDT
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PORTLAND, Ore. (KPTV) - The Portland Thorns took the field Sunday for the first time since the organization was at the center of the scathing Yates report of widespread abuse in the National Women’s Soccer League.

FOX 12 spoke with fans at the game as the Thorns beat the San Diego Wave in the semifinals of the NWSL playoffs. Fans showed up to rally hours before kickoff and said it’s all about supporting the players.

SEE ALSO: Fans protest Thorns, Timbers owner, promote group ownership

One by one, as Portland Thorns players entered the stadium, fans made sure the players knew they were behind them.

“As a fan, come here and show them we support them and we believe in them,” Antonio Rivera, a Thorns fan, said.

People showed up hours before kickoff and said they had one goal to show the players love.

“Regardless of what’s going on with the front office, we love the players,” Amanda Almeida, a Thorns fan, said.

Others said they want to remain supporting the team they have cheered for.

“We were considering giving up our season tickets, but we’ve been coming for so long, and really it’s about the girls, it’s about the players,” Tanita Mutter, a Thorns fan, said.

The Yates report brought to light widespread abuse in the NWSL, including the Thorns organization. Two executives have since been fired and Merritt Paulson stepped down as CEO, but fans said they want to see more changes.

“I mean, sell the team,” Almeida said.

As fans navigate how to support the team, many said they’re taking cues from the players.

“It hurts them if we boycott the entire team,” Thorns fan Mick Orlosky said. “Bella Bixby’s statement was tremendous. Sophia Smith was tremendous. When they came out with that, I said well, there’s no choice. We’ve got to get out there to support them.”

“They’ve asked for our support, they want it, and we love them,” Almeida said.

Fans showed up on Sunday to answer that call, and said they’ll continue taking cues from the players and be there for them in the way they need on and off the field.