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News / Clark County News

Local Thorns players now working as coaches

Tarr could return for 2015 season if injured knee heals

By Paul Danzer, Columbian Soccer, hockey and Community Sports Reporter
Published: August 27, 2014, 5:00pm

PORTLAND — Maybe if Kat Tarr had been healthy, perhaps if Tina Ellertson had been playing, the Portland Thorns would have had a more satisfying second season in the National Women’s Soccer League.

Reflecting upon the season that ended Saturday with a playoff loss at Kansas City, Thorns coach Paul Riley said having either of the Vancouver women would have improved the Thorns chances for playoff success.

Ellertson retired before the season to focus on coaching and was named the head coach for the new Portland Thorns youth academy. She is also the girls soccer coach at King’s Way Christian High School. Tarr played in six games on defense for the Thorns this season before a season-ending knee injury.

“I think a really fit and healthy Kat Tarr would have helped us,” Riley said. “We had her, even at the beginning of the season, probably at 75-percent (fit) coming off having a baby. I think a year out from the baby (and) training full time, I think Kat would be a very good player.”

A 2005 Columbia River graduate, Tarr returned to Vancouver last fall after the birth of her first child. She had played several seasons in Germany’s top league. She made the Thorns roster after attending an open tryout.

Tarr, 27, hopes to play next season. She said she will continue for four months with with physical therapy for the knee, and focus on improving her overall strength.

“I’ve got the feeling that if I do everything (the trainers) ask me to do, I’ll be playing next season,” Tarr said.

Tarr is also coaching youth players and is in her first season as an assistant coach for the Clark College women’s soccer team.

Ellertson, a 2000 Hudson’s Bay graduate who has played for the United States in the Women’s World Cup, was a perfect fit to coach the Thorns startup academy program, according to Riley.

“She’s got a great philosophy. I think she’s the right person to do it,” Riley said, adding that he had tried to acquire Ellertson to play for his Women’s Pro Soccer team in Philadelphia. “I think she has the right temperament.

“I think she’ll be a great role model — a great female coach,” Riley said. “I would like more coaches in our league to be female. I think having the Thorns Academy run by a female is brilliant.”

After his first season in the NWSL, Riley said this league is much more stable than the WUSA and the WPS, two women’s soccer leagues that came and went. Portland — which averaged more than 13,000 fans per home game — is significant.

Columbian Soccer, hockey and Community Sports Reporter