The Mark Parsons era in Portland is over following the Thorns’ 2-0 loss to the Chicago Red Stars in the NWSL semifinals on Sunday.
Parsons is moving on to coach the Netherlands women’s national team after six years at the helm of the Thorns’ program. Rhian Wilkinson has reportedly been tabbed to succeed him as Thorns manager.
“The fans have given me and my family a gift that we’ll forever be grateful for,” Parsons said after the game. “This league has gone through a lot and the players in this league remember the early days and the struggles.”
Under Parsons, the Thorns won an NWSL championship in 2017 and two NWSL Shields in 2016 and 2021. This year, they also won the NWSL Challenge Cup and the Women’s International Champions Cup before entering the playoffs as the top seed.
When asked about the secret to his success, Parsons pointed to the team’s commitment to respecting each other as people before soccer players.
“People first. People second. People third. And there’s a little bit of soccer sprinkled in,” he said. “I am who I am as a person because of the players — they have made me better as players have given me opportunities and belief in the hardest times.
“Players continue to drive this league and we need to continue to make the standard high.”