The Portland Thorns have announced the appointment of Mike Norris as the team’s new head coach.
Norris — originally from Newcastle, England — worked with youth teams at the national and club levels in Canada from 2014 to 2019 before joining the Thorns as an assistant coach prior to the 2022 season.
He has also served as an assistant, goalkeeping and interim head coach with the Canada women’s Under-17 and Under-20 national teams over a span of six years, and was the head goalkeeping coach for the Vancouver Whitecaps Under-14 and Under-15 boys residency teams for two of those years.
He also provided assistance to the Canada senior women’s national team during their gold medal run at the 2020 OIympic games in Tokyo, working with goalkeepers and providing strategic insight for set pieces and penalty kicks.
Thorns players Christine Sinclair and Janine Beckie were on that 2020 gold medal team, and Thorns GM Karina LeBlanc knows Norris from the Canada soccer scene as well.
He succeeds Rhian Wilkinson, a former Canadian international. Wilkinson stepped down as head coach last month after an investigation into a relationship with one of her players.
An NWSL investigation however cleared her of wrongdoing when she exchanged texts with Thorns defender Emily Menges wherein the two expressed mutual romantic interest.
The Thorns GM is former Canadian international Karina LeBlanc. The Portland roster features Canada captain Christine Sinclair and fellow Canadian international Janine Beckie.