Michelle Betos confirms move to Norway

Dan Lauletta February 10, 2017 34
Michelle Betos, always one of the most popular Thorns, is heading to Norway. (Photo Copyright Patricia Giobetti for The Equalizer)

Michelle Betos, always one of the most popular Thorns, is heading to Norway. (Photo Copyright Patricia Giobetti for The Equalizer)

Michelle Betos, goalkeeper of the 2016 NWSL Shield winning Portland Thorns FC, confirmed Friday she is leaving the team to play for Valerenga in the Norwegian Toppserien. The news was reported by Katja Kragelund (@applessquabbles) who covers the game for several international outlets, and relayed in English by Kieran Theivam of wosozone.com and The Equalizer

Betos later tweeted a thank you note directed at the Thorns’ supporters group The Rose City Riveters and all Thorns fans.

The Thorns later tweeted out their own thank you to Betos, who was honored by the Riveters after the 2015 season.

The career arc for Betos has been rather exceptional. She was the Reign’s backup keeper in 2013 but started the first six games of the season while Hope Solo recovered from injury. Playing behind a spotty back line on a team that would not win its first match until the end of June, Betos finished the 2013 season 0-6-1 with a goals against average of 2.00.

Things began to change that offseason when the Reign traded her to the Breakers who then flipped her to Portland where she was reunited with youth coach Paul Riley. Betos was always supposed to be the backup in Portland, first to Nadine Angerer and then to Adrianna Franch. But Betos earned more playing time in each of her three seasons in the Rose city, eventually cementing herself as Mark Parsons’s top choice down the stretch in 2016.

In three years with Portland, Betos went 16-10-4 with a 1.27 goals against and seven shutouts. She was also the keeper for the Thorns’ playoff loss to the Flash last fall, making several fabulous stops in a gut-wrenching, 4-3 loss.

But for as long as Betos plays soccer her most memorable moment will be the goal she scored against FC Kansas City on June 19, 2015, the first NWSL match after the league went dark for the World Cup group stage. Trailing 1-0 in stoppage time and playing with 10 women, Riley pushed Betos into the offensive penalty area for a corner kick. She was open on the first attempt that was cleared out. Open again on the second, she drove Allie Long’s corner past Nicole Barnhart to earn the Thorns a 1-1 draw.

“You’re overcome with the desire to just win or at that point tie,” Betos told The Equalizer a few days later. “I always say to our forwards and our backs to do everything you can and leave it all out and that’s just what I was trying to do.”

  • wosofan

    Loved seeing Betos play. She will be missed.

  • xanthophobe

    I wish her nothing but the absolute best. I”m not a Thorns fan but always found myself rooting for her. She was fun to watch and was a great reminder why the NWSL exists. I’ll never forget watching that POR-KC game and thinking “holy crap did that goal come from Betos???”

    Best of luck to you, Michelle.

    • Arcie Tillydee

      I was lucky enough to see that goal live. Definitely one of THE moments for me in years of watching this sport. =)

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  • Steglitz49

    Where does Vålerenga’s money come from?

    They are spending it like water, like no tomorrow.

    • Rdalford

      Do any press reports in Europe re Vålerenga’s signings have salary range info?

      Appears Vålerenga picked up Betos (ex Portland), Krieghoff and Verdoia (ex Boston) as well as Theresa Nielsen, Teigan Allen, Jónsdóttir, and Isabell Bårdsgjære

      • Steglitz49

        These were the scenes when Bilbao won the Spanish League (or the Queen’s Cup) a couple of years ago and the lasses were welcomed home:

        • Rdalford

          Huh? how does this stuff relate to my question re salary info?

          • Steg Patrol

            Because the troll always looks for a soft spot to post irrelevant items.

          • Steglitz49

            Portland is the Mecca of US WoSo and you seem to be able to play there regardless of your background. We laud and magnify Portland’s name. Then you see pictures like these and wonder — not surprising that players who are in a position to move may try St Elsewhere, not least when their NWSL club treats them with some disdain.

        • Rdalford

          question was
          re salary info for Valerenga in the Norwegian Toppserien

          • Steglitz49

            Once American lasses realize how well some of these places regard and cherish their players, the lemmings will not just jump off the cliffs at Portland to Norway but beat their paths to other doors and manors.

      • Som Termanni

        I couldn’t find any, but Vålerenga is a puzzle in general. They were near bankruptcy in 2014, but they’re also finishing up a brand-new stadium with 17,000+ seats. They got a new shirt sponsor in 2014 as well but not one that screams the sort of money to suddenly throw contracts around that would show up the NWSL. Norway doesn’t have a reputation as a money destination as Sweden, France, and to a lesser extent Germany and England do. Vålerenga’s women’s side is a bottom-half team that flirted with relegation in 2015, and finished 9th of 12 in 2016 giving up 2.2 GAPG.

        • Rdalford


        • Steglitz49

          Norway used to encourage its clubs to concentrate on developing Norwegian girls. They had the odd Swede, Dane and Fin but not an awful lot and nowhere as keen on foreign players as Sweden.

          Thus, there is a change in approach in Norwegian WoSo. I presume that it is like in Avaldsnes: a local well to do businessman putting money into the WoSo club because it is affordable.

  • kernel_thai

    My theory…USSF was willing to allocate Franch but not to sit on the bench. Betos chose to go somewhere that her play dictated whether she was a starter.

    • mockmook

      Hmmm. That makes a sadistic kind of sense. IOW, you are probably right.

      It is USSF…

    • Rdalford

      don’t know about allocation for Franch, but do agree that Betos discussions with Portland coach Parsons about being a consistent starter – or not – might have entered into decision by Betos. imo, Betos has proved she can be an effective starting GK in NWSL.

    • TsovLoj

      It’s occurred to me as well. For whatever reason the USSF is convinced Franch is better. If Betos isn’t going to be able to disabuse them of that notion no matter how well she does, this is probably the best thing for her.

    • rkmid71

      I’ve thought it was similar with other players. USSF willing to allocate, but then they get to dictate not only starter, regardless of performance, but role and position on the team. Essentially to serve USSF’s purposes, not the NWSL team. As an example, Lloyd in Houston after the 2015 WC … basically trying to learn to play forward (after JE moved her up late in WC). Largely at the team’s expense. Basically a license to shoot anytime from anywhere.

      I can’t imagine the impact that has on other NWSL players. WNT player performance in NWSL not really a factor in their NWSL playing time, position, or anything else. Show up when you want, get paid the most, CBA restricting opportunities for NWSL players to compete for USWNT roster spots. Clubs have no say. And so on. Need to get USSF out of managing the NWSL asap.

    • Arcie Tillydee

      Yet another allocated player could certainly be an incentive for Mark Parsons (and Gavin Wilkinson), at least since AD Franch would have been contending for the 11 anyway. I’m not convinced there aren’t a few roster moves for the Thorns before training camp starts (to account for Euro 2017 depletion as well as several players not necessarily being fully healed and fit at the start of things. Having another salary covered by the USSF frees money under the cap to ensure that the FO has at least the non-allocated max to try ans lure a good player with.

      But I also think that if Parsons weren’t confident AD could step in without loss of quality he’d tell the USSF to pound sand. The federation has some really powerful incentives, but there’s only that: incentives. They don’t dictate roster decisions.It’s also quite possible the USSF had nothing to do with this and that Betos had been told she wasn’t starting camp as the default starter…so she decided that was the writing on the wall she decided to jump on a chance to make bank.

      • another guest

        for what it is worth, although USA/Canada federations pay the actual NWSL salary for allocated federation players (so allocated players are no cost in actual dollars to NWSL teams) he NWSL team’s salary cap is adjusted down by min salary ($15k for 2017) amount for each allocated player. Net, Portland does free up some salary cap room by having large number of allocated players, but since the salary cap does take a hit (- $15k) for each allocated player the amount freed up is not necessarily as much as some might expect.

  • GT

    I’m seeing a trend here. How many more NWSL players will go and play in Europe in the next two months prior to the kick-off of the NWSL season? My guess is 10.

  • Silver Frost

    I guess the low pay at Portland made her decision easier.

    • Steglitz49

      It probably rains about as much in either place but Oslo is the capital of Norway and in winter there is snow and the national ski stadium with its iconic church and skijump at the end of a streetcar line.

      Better number one in Vålerenga than number two in Portland.

      • TsovLoj

        Except she’s been number one at Portland so far.

        • Steglitz49

          Maybe she was given a hint that come the new season Portland was obliged to start another keeper? Maybe also that that keeper who would be allocated so would not cost Portland a red cent?

          • SpiritFan80

            this was my first thought. PTFC getting pressure from USSF to start Franch, They are calling her into camps. My bet is Ellis picks her #1 GK by end of this year and other one loses allocation next year. Think Franch and Campbell are vying for #2 spot heading toward France2020. They both could become allocated players next season. Its been too long since we’ve seen Franch get any playing time to see if she really is NT material but she’s young and I don’t see Ellis keeping 2 30+ yr. old keepers on for next WWC/OLY.

          • Steglitz49

            France 2019; Tokyo 2020.

          • SpiritFan80

            Yes, got my numbers mixed up.

      • frosty

        I don’t see the relevance of the tourism ad, but thanks

        • Steglitz49

          Maybe this will convince you:

          The Holmenkollen church (originally a chapel) was built just over 100 years ago so that the pietistic Norwegians could enjoy skiing or mountaineering on a Sunday without feeling guilty for missing church. I think it was paid for by some wealthy businessmen.

          • frosty

            I still don’t understand. Is Betos a skier? Has she expressed a desire to experience Scandanavian culture? Did this article talk about anything like that? Are you getting paid to put links in?

          • Steglitz49

            Don’t try to understand. Go with the flow and love what is in store for Betos.