Mike Norris named new head coach of Portland Thorns FC

Published: Jan. 9, 2023 at 11:02 AM PST
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PORTLAND, Ore. (KPTV) - The reigning NWSL champion Portland Thorns FC have a new head coach.

Mike Norris was announced as the fifth head coach in club history Monday.

“We are excited to have Mike move into our head coach position,” said Thorns FC general manager Karina LeBlanc. “During his time with the club, he has exhibited an ability to connect with the players by not only helping them develop as athletes, but also grow as people. Mike is an asset to the Thorns, and we look forward to him leading us in this new direction. We believe he is the right person to help us continue to improve and capitalize on our previous success.”

Norris replaces Rhian Wilkinson who stepped down last month after one season on the job after saying players lost faith in her after sharing mutual romantic interest via text message with longtime Portland star, Emily Menges.

SEE ALSO: Portland Thorns FC head coach Rhian Wilkinson to resign

A league investigation did clear Wilkinson of any wrongdoing.

Norris, 43 years old from Newcastle, England, was a member of Wilkinson’s coaching staff during the 2022 season as Portland won a third league title.

“I would like to thank the organization for trusting me to lead this team into the next chapter,” said Norris. “I know it will take hard work and a commitment from all involved to grow and get better as we aim for continued success. It is a great privilege to have inherited a team that is hungry, driven and talented, and I am excited to give everything to the players, the club and the Portland community as the head coach of the Portland Thorns.”

Norris was a longtime youth coach in Canada and also assisted the Canadian National Team that won gold at the Tokyo Olympics with current Thorns’ Janine Beckie and Christine Sinclair.

Norris’ first order of business is to fly to Philadelphia for Thursday’s 2023 NWSL Draft ahead of season 11 for the league.

SEE ALSO: Merritt Paulson to sell the Portland Thorns FC

FOX 12′s Nick Krupke went one-on-one with the new leader in Soccer City as the club looks for stability and a new owner after Merritt Paulson announced his intentions to sell the team. You can catch the interview on FOX 12 Oregon at 5 p.m.