Long leaves comfort zone with move to Portland

Dan Lauletta February 7, 2013 5

Allie Long was one of four free agents signed by Portland Thorns FC. (Photo credit: Tony Quinn/ISI Photos)

Allie Long was pondering her soccer future when the old Albert Einstein quote came to mind about doing the same thing over and over again equating to insanity. So with that in mind the 25-year old Long Islander signed a free agent contract to play for Portland Thorns FC in the National Women’s Soccer League.

“I wanted something out of my comfort zone,” said Long, who said she has never been based more than four hours from home to play domestically (she played for PSG in France during the 2011-12 season). “I thought that Portland was a great soccer city. And of course Cindy (Parlow Cone, Thorns head coach) as a former Tar Heel coach, I know she’s going to be a great coach for the club. But I guess I was really excited to do something new.”

[RELATED: Allie Long awaits new league, next opportunity]

Long will be joined in Portland by fellow free agents signings Nikki Washington, Becky Edwards, and Nikki Marshall. She does not know yet exactly where she will be posted but it figures to be somewhere in the midfield. During her professional career Long has spent more time on the defensive side of the midfield.

“I’m hoping to get a role when I can create and help score goals myself as well as play defensive and be able to keep it,” she said, adding that Parlow Cone has not discussed a detailed role with her yet. “I love keeping possession of the ball and playing quickly. I like both aspects of the game so wherever she needs me is where I’ll be and at the end of the day I just want to win.”

The addition of Edwards could help get Long into a more attacking position. Wherever she winds up the job of the midfield will be to feed Alex Morgan and Christine Sinclair, world class strikers who give the Thorns instant credibility in the goal scoring department.

“I can’t wait to play with them.”

Long and Morgan are no strangers. They were recently part of a training group in California under the auspices of none other than Mia Hamm. They not only trained together but Long stayed at Morgan’s house.

“I think that our relationship off the field definitely will correlate to on the field,” Long said.

On training with Hamm she said, “Thankfully Mia was so gracious. We trained twice a week with her. She was just awesome. She’s my all-time favorite so I went in there hoping to learn just one thing and come back satisfied. I came back and I feel like I learned way more than I even expected. It was just such a great experience. I’m so thankful that she took her time to do that for a bunch of us.”

  • Steglitz49

    With respect, I find this article a bit odd. In the second paragraph we read that: ‘“I wanted something out of my comfort zone,” said Long, who said she has never been based more than four hours from home.’ Unless there is another Allie Long, this young lady played for PSG. Maybe she flew Concorde to Paris?

    Many young players have moved all over the place. Lindsay Horan at 18 signed for PSG (Long’s old club), where she is having a whale of a time, and an 18-year old Marta went from Brazil to Umeå, a small university town in the north of Sweden on the same latitude as Fairbanks in Alaska. OK, at that time Umeå was the club to play for. Hope Solo at 22 spent a season with Göteborg and Sarah Hagen at the same age went to Bayern Munich. Saki Kumagai was still 20 when she transferred to Frankfurt from Japan.

    As for Portland, it is by all accounts a charming city with a strong ladies’ soccer culture and Ms Long will play with some pretty big colleagues. Why would moving within the USA be so discomfiting when one has trod the grass in Paris?

    • Her “comfort zone” is more about her role with the team, rather than her geographic location. In the context of what she is talking about here, anyway.

      • It doesn’t read that way when the author states “she has never been based more than four hours from home.” I assumed that meant she wasn’t well-traveled with regards to soccer.

        • It’s been edited now to better reflect the point.

  • Steglitz49

    It will be exciting to see in which positions various ladies will play. Some will needs play in unfamiliar positions but they are all so talented that provided the coach places them with skill on the chess-board of the pitch, they will excell, love it and all will be well.

    We tend to associate the term “Total Football” with the Ajax and Dutch national teams that were built around Johan Cruyff to make the most of his exceptional talent, but it is easy to forget that (nearly) all those players were themselves wonderful. Some argue that the first exponents of the idea of Total Football was the great Turin side that perished in the air-crash.

    Yet. The modern (men’s) game is in some ways more like Grid-iron, with players becoming increasingly specialized. Maybe that is because the wealthy teams can buy exactly the player they need to plug a gap instead of shifting existing players around. Ladies soccer is not quite there yet — though Lyon and PSG are showing us that that route exists.

    No matter, we look forward to cracking, joyful and exuberant football in 8-9 weeks time. Hopefully Ms Long can find that perfect slot for herself, or, in the tradition of Total Football play all over the turf.