Portland Thorns FC

Portland Thorns FC Acquire Defender Nicole Payne on Loan from Paris Saint-Germain

February 18, 2024 - National Women's Soccer League (NWSL)
Portland Thorns FC News Release

PORTLAND, Ore. - Portland Thorns FC have acquired defender Nicole Payne, on a season-long loan from Paris Saint-Germain of the Division 1 Féminine in France.

"We are pleased to be able to add Nicole to our roster for this season, she is a young and dynamic defender, who has the ability to impact the game on both sides of the ball," General Manager and President of Soccer Operations Karina LeBlanc said. "In speaking with Nicole, it was discovered that the Thorns are a club she has a deep admiration for. Her desire to represent this city and this crest is what we want from any new signing. When presented with this opportunity, she welcomed it with open arms. We are so thrilled to have her with us."

Payne, 23, recently joined French side Paris Saint-Germain in July of 2023, and has since appeared in two matches for the "Rouge et Bleu." Payne earned her first start on January 20, of this year, helping the team to an 8-1 victory over FC Girondins de Bordeaux.

"Nicole is an exciting addition to our roster, she is a defender first and foremost, but also has an incredible drive and desire to get forward and impact the game higher up the field. This coupled with her physical capabilities to do so, make her a very exciting asset for us," Head Coach Mike Norris said. "We look forward to welcoming Nicole to the Thorns family."

The American-born dual national rose to prominence on the international stage when she made her debut with the Nigeria Women's National Team in June of 2021, against Jamaica. She was part of the 2022 Women's African Cup of Nations roster, where she helped the Super Falcons to a fourth-place finish. Overall she has made seven appearances for Nigeria, two of them starts.

Before making the jump overseas, Payne played collegiately for University of Southern California where she scored three goals in 16 matches, 15 of which were starts. Before becoming a Trojan, she spent three years at West Virginia University where she recorded four goals and three assists in 53 matches, while making two NCAA Tournament appearances.

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