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Yazmeen Ryan is making a difference ‘with and without the ball’ for Gotham

Ryan has developed from a substitute in Portland to one of the league’s most promising players

Photo Copyright John Jones for USA TODAY Sports

It’s difficult to stand out when you play for the Portland Thorns, and it’s even harder when you aren’t a regular in the lineup. Expectations are high—this is, after all, a club with a glittering history of National Women’s Soccer League Shields and Championship wins, powered by star talent, domestic and international. During her two years with the Thorns, Yazmeen Ryan found herself up against intense competition for places, but she nonetheless made her mark, fighting her way from support act to starter in the 2022 Championship game.

Ryan laid on the winning goal in that game, with an incisive through ball for Sophia Smith to run onto and score. Since then, however, she has moved on to NJ/NY Gotham FC. Now, the 24-year-old has the platform her talent deserves. She is starting consistently, each time moving closer and closer to center stage.

In her latest outing, against the North Carolina Courage, Ryan changed the game. On 80 minutes, with the score at 0-0, she picked up the ball on the right wing off an accurate Allie Long diagonal. Closed down by Kiki Pickett, she controlled with her right foot, then quickly pushed forward with her left. Slowing, then accelerating again, she whizzed past Pickett and into the penalty box. Looking up, she assessed her options, waited, waited some more, then cut back for Lynn Williams to score her 60th career NWSL goal. 

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