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.
To @PDXRivetersSG, Section #102, and all Portland Thorns fans,
— Michelle Betos (@MichelleBetos) February 10, 2017
The Thorns later tweeted out their own thank you to Betos, who was honored by the Riveters after the 2015 season.
— Portland Thorns FC (@ThornsFC) February 10, 2017
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.”