Ellie Carpenter signs with Portland Thorns for upcoming NWSL season

Ellie Carpenter has signed with American club Portland Thorns. The Thorns are champions of the National Women's Soccer League.
Ellie Carpenter has signed with American club Portland Thorns. The Thorns are champions of the National Women's Soccer League.

WESTERN NSW graduate Ellie Carpenter has inked a deal with National Women’s Soccer League champions Portland Thorns for the upcoming American season.

Carpenter, a strong defender, is set to join Portland Thorns on her 18th birthday, April 28, following Matildas duty at the AFC Women’s Asian Cup earlier that month.

Fellow Aussies Ash Sykes – another Western graduate – and Hayley Raso were a part of the Portland Thorns premiership winning team in 2017.

Portland Thorns also signed gun Matildas striker Caitlin Foord this American off season, but she has suffered a serious foot injury and looks to be sidelined for several months.

Carpenter’s signing follows her debut season with Canberra United in the W-League for which she was named Canberra’s Player of the Year.

“Ellie is regarded as one of the top young players in the world and we are delighted by the opportunity to further her development,” Thorns general manager and president of soccer Gavin Wilkinson said in a statement on the club’s website.

“We are signing a powerful, attacking fullback that can help us now and also has huge upside in the long term,” Thorns coach Mark Parsons said.

“Ellie has strong technical ability with an attacking attitude that will add to our play out of the back. Her winning mentality to improve and compete makes her a great addition to our group.”

Carpenter has also been announced as part of Alen Stajcic’s 25-player preliminary Australia squad for the 2018 Algarve Cup.

Carpenter and the Matildas begin their tournament against Norway on Wednesday, February 28.