For Tina Ellertson, being at Jeld-Wen Field today for the first Portland Thorns FC home match will be both exciting and challenging.
Ellertson said she is looking forward to being a fan, sitting with her daughters to observe the new Women's Professional Soccer League. But the former U.S. women's national team defender also said it will be hard not to be part of the action.
Ellertson, 30, was selected by the Thorns in a dispersal draft that included players who were part of Women's Professional Soccer. But she said she couldn't agree to contract terms with the Thorns.
Salaries in the NWSL this year range from $6,000 to $30,000 for players not under a national team contract.
A 2000 graduate of Hudson's Bay High School who was a Pac-10 player of the year as a forward at the University of Washington, Ellertson is coaching three girls soccer teams and is the assistant director of coaching for FC Salmon Creek.
Friends and former teammates on the Thorns continue to encourage Ellertson to join them, she said. She didn't rule out resuming her playing career if the money improves. But now her focus is on sharing her expertise with local players.
"This is my career now," she said of coaching, "and I am diving into it."