The Portland Thorns FC name and logo originated in 2012 as one of the eight original teams in the NWSL in 2013. They came into the league the same year as the Boston Breakers, Chicago Red Stars, FC Kansas City, Sky Blue FC, Washington Spirit, the Western New York Flash, and their well-known rivals, the Seattle Reign FC.
Unfortunately, the Boston, Kansas City, and Western New York teams no longer exist, even though Kansas City got another team to play in the NWSL, and Boston is likely returning soon.
The Portland Thorns FC Name and Logo: How They Came To Be
The Portland Thorns FC logo was not created by a contest the way the name of the original Portland Timbers FC was done. Rather, the Timber crest or logo was selected by a “Portlander and Timbers Army member to create it with the help of the FO. This member just so happens to be Brent Diskin, the very same one who creates all those amazing Timbers posters we’ve come to adore over the last couple years,” (source: Geoff Gibson of Stump Town Footy).
This is what then Portland Timbers owner, Merritt Paulson, said about the new name (source: Geoffrey C. Arnold | The Oregonian/OregonLive):
“Portland Thorns quickly emerged as a natural choice that was appropriate for the city,” Timbers owner Paulson said in a written statement. “And a nice side benefit of the name is the (Timbers) Army’s ‘P-T-F-C’ chant doesn’t need much re-scripting.”
As for the logo itself, it looks very professional and clean. As stated in Arnold’s article, it is a “red rose encircled by thorns.” The logo of the Thorns from 2012-2013 has gone through many changes. This is not just from the stars above the logo to represent the NWSL championships won, but also the color of the logo, which was changed to red and white (as seen in the main photo above). This seems to work better and is much brighter than the green, black, and red colors they had before.
Speaking of championships, the Thorns are right now the most successful team in the NWSL. They have won three NWSL championships (2013, 2017, and 2022) to their name and have also won the 2016 NWSL Shield as well as the Community Shield in the 2020 NWSL Fall Series. Their biggest year though might have been 2021 when they won the NWSL Challenge Cup, the Women’s International Champions Cup, and the NWSL Shield.
READ MORE: A History Of The Colorado Rapids Name
Portland Thorns FC Origins
The Portland Thorns FC team can be traced back to their previous professional women’s soccer team, the second re-incarnation of the Portland Rain, which came into being in 2008. This is what then Rains head coach, Janine Szpara, said about the partnership with the Timbers and the Oregon Youth Soccer Association’s (OYSA) Girls Olympic Development (ODP) program (source: Portland Timbers in 2012):
“The Portland Rain has existed for many years and has served as the elite level for women players in the area,” said Szpara. “This alliance with the Timbers brings us closer to making professional women’s soccer in Portland a reality.”
Later that year, Portland would be awarded a NWSL team that replaced the Rain and the rest is history.
Memorable Games at Providence Park
The Thorns home opener was on April 21, 2013, when they beat the Seattle Reign by a scoreline of 2-1. The Thorns also won the 2021 NWSL Challenge Cup and the 2021 Women’s International Champions Cup at Providence Park. However, what might be most remarkable is the fan support for the team. They were third in the league with 18,918 fans per game in 2023, and in 2022, were second in the league in attendance with 15,543 fans per game. As with the original eight teams in the league still existing, the Thorns have by far the largest attendance of those teams.
The Thorns will be making their mark as they play their 12th season in their existence with a new owner ahead of the 2024 NWSL season as RAJ Sports, which is operated by Lisa Bhathal Merage and Alex Bhathal. They are now the owners of the team (source: Thorns FC Communications).
Photo Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports, a Portland Thorns Logo Headshot, on May 18, 2022.
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