Portland Thorns Academy





For the 2022/2023 Season, the Portland Thorns Academy will have teams in the U19, U17, U16, U15, U14 and U13 age groups. The Thorns Academy will play in the ECNL League.

Westside Timbers, will continue to run the ECNL Regional League teams for the High School age groups. If interested in the Regional League please CLICK HERE.


2022/2023 Portland Thorns Academy Staff

Director of Coaching

U17 (2006) Head Coach


Tracy Nelson 
Head Coach for 
U17 Team
USSF A license

Previous Coaching Experience

  • Portland Thorns Academy - Head Coach: 2017-Current
  • Clackamas Community College Head Soccer Coach from 2002-2010 and were NWAACC Champions in 2004, 2005 and 2007.
  • Coached in the ODP/RTC programs and ODP regional teams, all ages of club soccer, HS soccer and individual coaching.

NWAACC Coach of the Year in 2004, 2005 and 2007
Southern Region Coach of the Year in 2002, 2004, 2005, 2008 and 2010

Playing Accomplishments
University of Portland 1991 - 1995, where she was a starter and all-conference selection all four years, voted most inspirational player in 1994, finished career as 5th overall in goals and assists and was a member of the first Final Four team in 1994. Played for Millwall FC in 1997, which were Treble Cup winners, including the prestigious FA Cup Champions. Played for Umea IK in Sweden in 1996. Was named Herald Women of the Year in Sports in 1994, member of the gold medal Olympic Festival team in 1993 and was a member of the US Youth National Team from 1990-1992.



U19 (2004/2005) Head Coach


Erin Grand - Head Coach U19
USSF B license

Previous Coaching Experience

University of North Carolina - Match Analytics Women's Soccer
University of Western Ontario - Assistant Coach Women's Soccer

Wilfrid Laurier University Assistant Coach Women's Soccer: 2011-2013

Region 4 ODP U14 Assistant Coach

North Carolina ODP Staff Coach

North London Soccer Club U13, U17, U18 Head Coach

Tualatin Hills United Soccer Club U18 Head Coach: 2018

North Carolina Football Club Youth U13 Head Coach

Bridge City Soccer Club U15 Head Coach 2019

Triangle Futbol Club Alliance U13 and U14 Head Coach

Coaching Licenses

  • USSF B License
  • United Soccer Coaches Premier License
  • Canada Soccer Pre-B License


Portland Thorns Academy Staff

U16 (2007) Head Coach & U15 (2008) Head Coach


Sharla Topaum - Head Coach U16 and U15
USSF B license Candidate

Previous Coaching Experience:

Portland Timbers & Thorns Regional Training Center (RTC)
RTC East Director, 2016 – 2020
RTC East Staff Coach, 2014 – 2016

Olympic Development Program (ODP)

Head Coach U12 – U14 Girls, 2015 – 2020 Eastside Timbers and Thorns

Head Coach, U10 – U19 Girls, 2009 – 2021

Assistant Coach, U18 Boys, 2020 – 2021


Sharla has a proven history of leading teams in postseason play:
USYS National League Northwest Champions 2019 – 2020 (U18G)

Oregon State Cup Champions 2019 (U17G), 2013 (U12G), 2012 (U11G)

Oregon State Cup Finalist 2015 (U15G)

Playing Experience and Education:

Played collegiate soccer at Northern Alberta Institute of Technology, Alberta, Canada
Earned a Master of Science degree in Speech and Hearing Sciences from Portland State University

U14 (2009) Head Coach


Ryan Johnson- Head Coach U14
USSF B license

Playing and Coaching Experience:

Major League Soccer: Charlotte FC - North American Scout, Current
Major League Soccer: Real Salt Lake, Chicago Fire, Portland Timbers, San Jose Earthquakes, Toronto FC

Sweden: Osters IF - Professional Soccer Player, 2007

Chinese Super League: Henan Jianye - Professional Soccer Player, 2014-2015

K-League: Seoul E-Land FC - Professional Soccer Player, 2015-2016

National Team: Jamaica - Professional Soccer Player, 2006-2013

Florida Gulf Coast University: Men's Assistant Coach, 2017-2018


2006 Lamar Hunts Open Cup Champions

2009 Golden Boot

2009 Team Most Valuable Player

2010 Caribbean Cup Champions

2012 Canadian Cup Champions

2012 George Gross Memorial Trophy - Canadian Championships Best Player

2013 West Conference Champions


Oregon State University, Bachelor of Science

2006 MLS Superdraft

U13 (2010) Head Coach


Chris Thurley  
USSF A license

Previous Coaching Experience

Portland Thorns Academy - Head Coach: 2017- Current
Westside Timbers, Head Coach, various teams
Jesuit High School, Head Coach
La Salle High School, Head Coach

Awards including:
Eight-time 'Coach of the Year' awards through 'The Oregonian' & OSAA
Timbers ODP Boys Coach of the Year, 2016

Chris has coached at the state and regional level since 1994. He coached boys and girls at La Salle HS before moving to Jesuit HS in 2005. In that time, he has coached numerous players that have gone on to play professionally, including Kendall Johnson (Portland Thorns), Ryan Cochrane (various MLS teams) and Rubio Rubin (Real Salt Lake). Chris played soccer in England at Bishop's Stortford Swifts in the Essex Olympian League (1984-1990).

Chris holds a current USSF 'A' & 'Y' license as well as Advance National Diploma through the NSCAA.


2021/2022 Coaching Staff

2021-2022 Season
Head Coaching Staff

Esteban Llamosa
U19 Team

Tracy Nelson
U17 Team

Sharla Topaum
U16 Team

Erin Grand
U15 Team

Shane Bangs
U14 Team

Ryan Johnson
U13 Team


Maite Zabala

Maite Zabala Biography

Maite Zabala 
Director of Goalkeeping
USSF A license

Coaching Experience:

University of...


2022/2023 Assistant Coaches

U19 Team - Shane Bangs

U17 Team - Taylor Kernion

U16 Team -Meaghan Nally (Thorns FC)
                 Sonimi Halliday

U15 Team - Sonimi Halliday

U14 Team - Maria Frias

U13 Team - Taylor Kernion & Shane Bangs


Staff Coaches

Kris Dunne (Thorns FC)

Kelli Hubly (Thonrs FC)

Esteban Llamosa