Portland Thorns Academy

Sophie Clough
Staff Coach DA
B License
Portland Thorns First Team Assistant Coach


Kyle Steinbaugh
Assistant Coach DA
A License

U15 and U17

Portland Thorns Development Academy Coaching Staff

Laura Schott

Portland Thorns Development Academy Director
Head Coach U15 and U17 DA Teams

USSF B licensed coach

Previous Coaching

  • Portland State University, Head Coach
  • US Soccer Training Center, Director

Playing Experience

  • Capped player for US Womens National Team
  • U-21 US Womens National Team
  • Washington Freedom
  • FC Energia
  • University of California, Berkeley

Following a successful inaugural season in the Girls DA, we have strived to improve the program and we are excited to announce that we will begin our second year with a full-time Thorns FC Academy director, Laura Schott. Laura was formerly the Girls Director at FC Portland and prior to that, the head coach at Portland State University for 10 years with most winning record in program history. As a collegiate player, she still stands as the all-time leader in goals scored at California and was a two-time All-American at Cal, as well as a Hermann Trophy finalist in 2001.

Additionally, Schott played with the U.S. Senior Women's National Team at the 2001 Algarve Cup while she was still attending Cal. After college, she played professionally and won a national championship with the Washington Freedom of the WUSA in 2003. As a prep player, Schott played locally for FC Portland and Jesuit High School, and won state titles every year she competed for each team. At Jesuit, Schott never lost a game while scoring 116 career goals and being named a two-time Oregon State Player of the Year and a high school All-American. She is the perfect person to lead the Academy.

The coaching staff will be integrated and will work with each other across the age groups, as well as with the Thorns FC first team coaches when available. Darren Lilla will remain our Thorns FC Girls ODP Head Coach, which provides an invaluable link between our Pre-Academy and Academy programs this year, as well as adding to the vertical integration of philosophies within our club.

Thorns FC Academy staff also plan to utilize the Academy to train and educate some local coaches as well, who may be on the pathway to better themselves through the US Soccer licensing system.

In addition, and is new this year, Thorns FC Academy will be partnering with Westside Timbers who will provide administrative support to the program as well as some more consistent access to field space, particularly with stadium expansion going on. The plan is to rotate Academy games and some practices around other metro communities to provide increased access to elite girls soccer for local players, coaches, parents and referees alike.


Chris Thurley - Head Coach U19 Thorns Development Academy Team

Chris has lived in the US for 28 years, coaching at the state and regional level since 1994. He coached boys and girls at La Salle HS before moving to Jesuit HS (where also teaches History & Health) in 2005. In that time, he has coached numerous players that have gone on to play professionally, including Kendall Johnson (Portland Thorns) Ryan Cochrane (various MLS teams) and Rubio Rubin (currently playing for Tijuana in Liga MX ). Chris played soccer in England at Bishop's Stortford Swifts in the Essex Olympian League (1984-1990).

Chris has earned numerous coaching awards, including 8 state 'Coach of the Year' awards through 'The Oregonian' & OSAA, and most recently the Timbers ODP Boys Coach of the Year for 2016.

Chris holds a current USSF 'A' & 'Y' license as well as Advance National Diploma through the NSCAA.

Tracy Nelson

Tracy Nelson - Head Coach U14 Thorns Development Academy Team
USSF A licensed coach

Coaching Experience:

Portland Thorns Girls DA -U14 Head Coach: 2017-Current

Clackamas Community College:

  • Head Coach: 2002 - 2010
  • 2004, 2005 and 2007 NWAACC Champions
  • 2004, 2005 and 2007 NWAACC Coach of the year honors
  • 2002, 2004, 2005, 2008 and 2010 Southern Region Coach of the Year honors
  • Compiled a record of 132-38-18 over 9 seasons

Other Coaching Accomplishments:

  • USSF National "A" license coach
  • 2006 ODP/RTC Coach and Director - 2016 - 2018
  • SSC Player Development Coach - 2015 - 2017
  • Thorns Academy Assistant Coach 2015/16
  • ODP Region 1V staff coach 2004, 2005
  • ODP Region 1V assistant coach 2005/06
  • Recipient of the April Heinrichs/Nike Inc. Continuing Education Scholarship
  • Club Coach for Lake Oswego SC 2002 - 2006
  • Varsity Coach at Century HS 2001
  • Oregon ODP State Team Coach 2000 - 2004, 207/08
  • Coach for FC Portland Academy 1997 - 1999
  • JV Coach for Jesuit High School 1997 - 2000
  • Freshman Coach for Grant HS 1995
  • Coach for Portland Mailing 1993 - 1995

Playing Accomplishments:

University of Portland 1991 - 1995

  • All conference selection 1991 - 1995
  • 4 year starter
  • Voted Most Inspirational Player 1994
  • Finished career as 5th overall in goals and assists
  • Member of the first Final Four team 1994

Professional and Amateur Player Accomplishments:

  • Member of the Women's Semi-Professional Team, The Portland Rain 2000
  • Member of the US Women's Amateur Soccer National Championship Team 1999
  • Member of the Adidas Summer League 1997 - 1998
    • Selected to the all-star team and captain 1997 - 1998
    • ASL league Champions 1998
  • Played Semi-Professionally in England for Millwall FC 1997
    • FA Cup Champions 1997
    • League Cup Champions 1997
    • Kent Cup Champions 1997
  • Played Professionally in Sweden for Umea IK 1996
  • 1994 Women of the Year in Sports for Washington State
  • Member of the Gold Medal Olympic Festival Team 1993
  • Member of the US Women's Youth National Team 1990 - 1992


Portland State University - Masters of Science - Adult Education 2004

University of Portland Bachelor of Science - 1995