Portland Thorns FC traded championship-winning goalkeeper Karina LeBlanc to the Chicago Red Stars on Monday in exchange for a second round college draft pick in 2015. The Thorns also acquired midfielder Sinead Farrelly from FC Kansas City in exchange for a second round pick in Friday’s 2014 NWSL College Draft.
Portland sending LeBlanc to Chicago comes as no surprise as a deal that has been in the works for at least a couple of weeks and comes just hours after Portland made official the signing of German goalkeeper Nadine Angerer, who won 2013 FIFA World Player of the Year on Monday.
The moves present an interesting juxtaposition of new Thorns coach Paul Riley’s old Philadelphia players. LeBlanc split time with Val Henderson in 2010 with Riley’s Independence team, but LeBlanc was never solidified as the No. 1, so she moved to magicJack in 2011.
Farrelly, on the other hand, who Riley considered a prized young player in Philadelphia, but she struggled to fit into a crowded and very good midfield in Kansas City. So now she reunites with her old coach in Portland, where the midfield is still plenty crowded as well.
“Sinead is a versatile player and was one of the best box-to-box midfielders in WPS,” Riley said. “She is smooth, intelligent and has an engine second to none. Having coached her before, I know her strengths and she brings a lot to the table and will be a great addition to our 2014 team. She will relish playing in Portland’s atmosphere and she has the potential to be a fan favorite.”
FC Kansas City’s acquired second round pick in the other deal is No. 16 overall for Friday’s draft. The Blues also added a third round pick in Friday’s draft earlier in the day in a deal that sent goalkeeper Bianca Henninger to the Houston Dash.