Within hours of the Portland Thorns winning their second NWSL title owner Merritt Paulson tweeted that he had gotten all the players, including national team members, cleared to celebrate in Portland. A few hours later news came out that there would be a victory celebration after the Timbers’ game with fans being told when the team would arrive at the airport. These little niblets of information were enough for hundreds to fill up the PDX terminals and over a thousand people to make their way to Providence Park to join their team in celebrating the city’s third Championship title within five years.
Filing into the stadium, those who had come from the Timbers game changed out Timbers gear for Thorns. Mayor Ted Wheeler, owner Merritt Paulson, general manger Gavin Wilkinson were all on hand along with almost the entire Thorns team, just missing Nadia Nadim who could not make the rally. As the team made their way to the stage the crowd erupted, starting in on a signature Riveter chant, leading many players to dance their way toward the crowd.
As each person came up to speak, praise was given to the supporters who continued to break into spontaneous chants for different players. When Ted Wheeler mentioned his daughter slept in her Thorns jersey a woman in the crowd with her kids laughed and said, “I slept in my jersey too!” When Amandine Henry said she would always be a Thorn, the crowd chanted “Don’t go!”
Moment after moment, the supporters hung on the words of the speakers, including head coach Mark Parsons who credited them with being, “the best in the freaking world“. As team captain Christine Sinclair spoke she made a point to get Tobin Heath and Allie Long to stand beside her, being the only original Thorns remaining. Ending her speech, Sinclair got the crowd to erupt after saying, “Let’s go get that third star.”
Lasting a little over an hour the team took their leave of the stage, with the NWSL trophy in hand, waving to the crowd as they went. In signature Riveter fashion the crowd didn’t leave with them, instead they sang them out. Reminding the team that although they may go first their beloved supporters would be right behind them.
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