Ellertson retires to focus on coaching, family

Jeff Kassouf February 26, 2014 26

Tina Ellertson has retired. (Photo Copyright Meg Linehan for The Equalizer)

Tina Ellertson has retired, turning down a contract offer from Portland Thorns FC to pursue her coaching career.

Ellertson joined the Thorns late in the 2013 season, playing three regular-season games before featuring in their title run as inaugural NWSL champions. She played a pivotal role in anchoring Portland’s back line for the final half-hour of the title game after the Thorns were reduced to 10 players following Kathryn Williamson’s second yellow card.

As first reported by the Columbian, Ellertson now turns her attention to coaching her youth clubs of FC Salmon Creek. She was offered a contract by Portland, but didn’t feel she would have the time to partake in two-a-days, which new coach Paul Riley typically schedules for practice sessions.

“I’m so committed to my Salmon Creek club and to my family,” Ellertson said. “I didn’t feel it would be fair to them for me to be away that much.”

Next week, Ellertson will travel to Guatemala to speak to the women’s national team and run clinics for youth soccer clubs, according to the Columbian.

  • newsouth

    Riley loves his two-a-days. I wonder how the $6000 players will take it.

    • Lorehead

      Good point. May I beat this drum again: the salary cap is too low? If you want them to train as pros, pay them as pros. But the two-a-days sound like a good idea to me.

  • Steglitz49

    Best of luck, Tina! Take Salmon Creek all the way to the NWSL — whoops, that is possible in old Europe but probably not in the US of A.

    Nevertheless, by all account FC Salmon Creek are excellent, so keep the flag flying. “Oregon expects every Salmon Creek lass do her duty”, and all that. Enjoy Guatemala!

    • clioamare007

      I’m glad that Tina is pursuing coaching opportunities. I think it’s neat that she will speak to Guatemala WNT and help run youth clinics down there. Maybe she would coach at a college-level someday.

    • Rdalford

      FYI – FC Salmon Creek is located in Vancouver, WA along the north side of Columbia river – across the river from Oregon.

      • Steglitz49

        Thank you for the information. I presume that people in Oregon are allowed to cheer for the Salmonettes or is that forbidden by some local statue?

        Maybe one fine day WA will have two teams in the NWSL and people will mix and match their Vancouvers? I like the idea of them playing in glorious salmon pink in the NWSL.

        • Lorehead

          The only local statue around here is Portlandia, and she hasn’t said a thing about it.

          I’m sorry to see her go, but at least she walked away from it while she was on top.

          • Steglitz49

            Why be sorry? She must stop playing sometime and it is not as if she earns a queen’s ransom playing soccer. Both Cruyff and Beckenbauer went on to be fine head coach, as did Charlton (Jack), so there are models.

  • AlexH

    It’s kind of the reality of women’s soccer that players will retire to take paying gigs. Best of luck.

    • Steglitz49

      Though it is impolite to give away a lady’s age, Tina is 31 so it is a reasonable time to consider coaching as an alternative. Obviously, if she were paid as much as Zlatan, no doubt Tina would carry on at the coal-face in the trenches for another couple of seasons.

      Let’s trust she takes to coaching like a duck to water– or whatever the WA fowl is.

  • Elaine

    Thanks to TIna for being on the Thorns team last season. I honestly don’t think they would have won the Championship game without her stellar performance in that back line after Williamson was sent off. Glad she is continuing her love of the game to the coaching side.

  • Rdalford

    Hope Tina continues to do well. Enjoyed watching her play and respect that she has frequently prioritized her family. Nice to see her coaching.

  • Pressured

    We should riot if they don’t raise the cap. If the stands average 12,000 in Portland and 5,000 in Seattle it is time to raise the cap. Freaking pay them enough to pay their bills.

    • Steglitz49

      How high do you want the cap to be? Would $800,000 be enough?

      • AlexH

        I have no idea what pay levels the league can sustain but it occurs to me that most of the players have college degrees (and unlike their male counterparts probably went to class and took the tests themselves) so why couldn’t the teams try to find off season work for their players that would allow them to pay their bills and leave them time to train? There are only 20 or so players on a team and it isn’t asking too much sacrifice for a company to hire somebody that is both educated and motivated.

        • Steglitz49

          Hear hear! A capital idea.

          The resistance to and ignoring of women in sport, not least team-sports, seems to be on a visceral gutrot level, not just with sponsors but also with the media. It seems to be a sex characteristic because it is the same in all countries, including those were the ladies are top notch and the men the also-ran never-weres.

          Indeed, in some cases well performing women are tarred with the brush used to denigrate useless men be it at national or club level.

        • Amy Brookheimer

          VW has provided office jobs for WOB players, as have sponsors for other UEFA women’s clubs. I don’t see why the entrepreneurs-owners can’t find something within their own organizations or with a club sponsor for players who don’t want to be servers or trainers or whatever “day job” they take to pay the rent.

          • Steglitz49

            Wolfsburg is in reality a subsidiary of VW. The CEO of VW is the Chairman of the club. The town loves its she-wolves. It would be like Microsoft owning Seattle or Boeing Chicago.

            VW are currently using their lady players to advertise one of their cars. The slogans go something like “A most successful team and car” and “The Triple Champions with the top car”. The players all wear slim-cut shape-hugging kits so we are in no doubt that this is the ladies side (maybe they wear a size too small or they shrank them in the wash, but they look specially cut wear).

            Maybe Harjeet could do a little research on how the wealthy men’s teams like Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, PSG, Ajax and many more actually do for their ladies. I bet it varies a lot.

          • Stay Pressed

            “The players all wear slim-cut shape-hugging kits so we are in no doubt that this is the ladies side (maybe they wear a size too small or they shrank them in the wash, but they look specially cut wear).”


            Maybe they’re just really tight in your mind…but…that’s just a regular kit.

          • Steglitz49

            Thank you for the picture. Great stuff! It would seem that the young lasses are at pains to ensure that the reader spot that they are the female of the species.

            Was this the car that each of last year’s senior squad got for winning the Champions League. Maybe Ford could sponsor the NWSL?

      • Lorehead

        I previously proposed that it be based on the revenues of the median team, and that salaries should be half of league revenues if the teams can afford it, or what most teams in the league can afford if not. (I also proposed that it be a cap on salaries above $15K, meaning that teams could not load up on stars, but would not be penalized for paying a full roster a living wage.)

        • Steglitz49

          What is a living wage obviously varies around the US of A but $15k looks on the low side to me, unless a small apt and a car are thrown in.

          There is comforting cheer from Sweden. Linköping. After last years loss they now have a profit of $1,000 inspite of a reduced turnover of $125k, down from $1.68m to $1,55m. The published accounts do not show how much they got for selling Nilla Fischer to Wolfsburg, nor how much they earned from their pitch etc during Euro-13, one-off income which no doubt helped them get back in black.

          Though attendance is higher in the NWSL than Sweden, I doubt that any team is truly profitable (except possibly Portland). I suspect that players are willing to slave another 2 or 3 seasons (till WC-15 or even OG-12) but the shenanigans forcing players back from abroad will have made foreign teams vary of signing top US players, so it will be the non-draftees that can hope for a contract.

          • Lorehead

            They can take a second job in the off-season. Also, it isn’t supposed to be the full salary, although teams probably would pay their backups that. The first $15K just doesn’t count against the cap.

            It’s a back-of-the-envelope calculation, but $12K would be too low (at or below the poverty line), and $20K would unfortunately be too high (Portland could poach too many good players from other teams that couldn’t afford to pay them the allowed amount.)

            It’s my attempt at a compromise between a living wage and parity. Teams shouldn’t be allowed to buy the title, but they should be allowed to pay their athletes enough to train full-time and put a better product on the pitch.

          • Lorehead

            Very glad to hear that Linköping made a profit (although I hope it can make a consistent operating profit and not rely on windfalls). You’re no doubt right about American players abroad, although U.S. Soccer aren’t the only ones who do it.

            On an unrelated note, I wonder how the Thorns’ tryouts in Pennsylvania went.

          • STT

            Remember that NWSL is just five months. For a full year, a single person can live on $20k, so getting a part-time job (or other playing gig) outside of NWSL would make $15k easily workable almost anywhere. Of course, if you mean “living wage” as it being your only source of income, then yeah $15 is a tad low. Doable, since I did that last year while living in the suburbs of DC, but definitely not worth staying for.

            Also, I believe the Spirit were profitable last year along with the Thorns (and, considering KC’s attendances and relatively name-less roster, I wouldn’t be surprised if they had turned a profit as well). The Spirit pres. said before the season that 3k/game paid would let them break even, and they beat that comfortably enough.

          • Steglitz49

            It is great that the NWSL has gotten off to such a highflying start. Let’s trust they can keep up the good work and show the ROW that a league can be solvent.