Portland Thorns Academy

Academy Staff

Mike Smith
Interim Academy Director
USSF A License

Constantine Konstin

Academy Technical Director
USSF A License

Staff Coaches

Linus Rhode
Thorns Academy
Staff Coach

Thorns Pre-Academy
U11 Head Coach
USSF A License


Maite Zabala
Thorns Academy
Goalie Coach
USSF A License



Head Coaching Staff

2020-2021 Season
Head Coaching Staff

Paul Karver
U19 Team
USSF A License

Paul Karver
U17 Team
USSF A License

Chris Thurley
U16 Team
USSF A License

Tracy Nelson
U15 Team
USSF A License

Erin Grand
U14 Team
USSF B License "Candidate"

Tracy Nelson
U13 Team
USSF A License

Pre-Academy Staff

Portland Thorns Academy - 4th Year

For the 2020/2021 Season the Portland Thorns Academywill have teams in the U18/19, U17, U16, U15, U14 and U13 age groups. The Thorns Academy will play in the ECNL League.

The coaching staff will be integrated and will work with each other across the age groups, as well as with the Thorns FC first team coaches when available.

Portland Thorns Academy will continue to partner with Westside Timbers who will provide administrative support to the program as well as a more consistent access to field space.

Below are the 2020/2021 Head Coaches. We are finalizing the Staff and Assistant Coaches and will post in the near future.

Portland Thorns Academy Coaching Staff

2020/2021 Portland Thorns Academy
Coaching Staff


Mike Smith - Interim Academy Director

UEFA Youth Pro License from the French Football Federation
FIFA Futuro Coaching Certificate
USSF A License

Previous Coaching Experience

  • Youth Sporting Director - Portland Timbers & Thorns Football Clubs
  • Academy Director - NWSL Portland Thorns Football Club
  • Academy Director - MLS Portland Timbers Football Club
  • State Technical Director, Oregon Youth Soccer Association
  • Associate Head Coach - University of Oregon Women's Soccer
  • First Assistant Coach - Santa Clara University Women's Soccer
  • Region IV Head Coach (Western US) - Girls Olympic Development Program

Mike has been involved in the Thorns Academy since its inception in 2014. Mike formed the initial Academy team, a U17 team, that played in the Far West Regional League. The following year, a second team was added at U16, which meant we had 2 elite teams at U16 & U18.

In 2016, US Soccer announced that they were beginning the US Soccer Development Academy for Girls. Mike as the original Academy Director, was a driving force behind The Portland Thorns Academy being one of the first 2 clubs in the country accepted to the new Development Academy (DA League).

In the past few years, Mike has had the opportunity, on occasion, to train the non-travel players when the first team is on the road, which has also further strengthened the connection between the Academy and the first team.

"Our mission & directive has always been to be a pioneer in girls' soccer and run the top female Academy program in the country. The Thorns Academy gives these elite young women athletes a professional structure to work within daily and provides the best environment to develop top female players"

U15 - 2006 Head Coach 2020/2021 Season

Tracy Nelson - Assistant Academy Director and U13 & U15 and Head Coach
USSF A license

Previous Coaching Experience

  • Portland Thorns Academy - Head Coach: 2017-Current
  • Clackamas Community College Head Soccer Coach from 2002-2010 and was 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.

U17 & U19 - 2004, 2003/2002 Head Coach 2020/2021 Season

Paul Karver - Head Coach U19 & U17
USSF A license
National GK License

Driven coach with 14 years experience at highly competitive NCAA soccer programs in the Pacific Northwest, Midwest, Southern California, Nevada, Oregon, and most recently, Northern California. A proven track record in recruiting and developing talent at the college, club and ODP levels. Consistently developed positive team cultures resulting in high achieving teams with a focus on the student-athlete experience.

Previous Coaching Experience

  • Head coach, Humboldt State University
  • Assistant coach, University of Oregon
  • Assistant coach, University of Las Vegas
  • Assistant coach, University of Redlands
  • Assistant coach, Millikin University
  • Assistant coach, George Fox University
  • Club director, Sequoia F.C.
  • Staff coach, Nevada ODP
  • Head coach and professional staff, Heat S.C.
  • Staff coach, West Region ODP

Other Licensing
USSF - National A License
USSF - National A License Renewal - Portland Timbers
USSF - National GK License
USSF - National Adult Coaching License
NSCAA - National Youth Diploma
TOVO - T1 Online Diploma

U16 - 2005 Head Coach 2020/2021 Season

Chris Thurley - Head Coach U16
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:
Timbers ODP Boys Coach of the Year, 2016
Eight-time 'Coach of the Year' awards through 'The Oregonian' & OSAA

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 (currently playing for Tijuana in Liga MX ). 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.

U14 - 2007 Head Coach 2020/2021 Season

Erin Grand - Head Coach U14
USSF B license "Candidate"

Previous Coaching Experience

  • Bridge City Soccer Club
  • Tualatin Hills United Soccer Club U18 Head Coach
  • North Carolina Football Club Youth U13 Head Coach
  • University of North Carolina Match Analytics Women's Soccer
  • North Carolina ODP Staff Coach
  • Triangle Futbol Club Alliance U13 and U14 Head Coach
  • University of Western Ontario Assistant Coach Women's Soccer
  • North London Soccer Club U13, U17, U18 Head Coach
  • Wilfrid Laurier University Assistant Coach Women's Soccer: 2011-2013

Playing Accomplishments
4-year starter and All-Star at University of Western Ontario: 2007-2011
National Training Team Ontario: 2005-2007

Academy Technical Director 2020/2021 Season

Constantine "Cony" Konstin
Academy Technical Director
USSF A license

In addition to his role with the Portland Thorns Academy, Cony has been the Director of Coaching for Westside Timbers since 2002 and the Director of the Metros Futsal Academy since 2016. He has been a FIFA Futsal Instructor since 2005 and has conducted FIFA and Futsal courses in various countries around the world as well as providing scouting and translating for the PFL during the FIFA Futsal World Cup in 2016. He has been a CONCACAF Coaching Instructor since 2016 and holds an 'A' National Coaching License and a Master's Degree in Sports Management from University of San Francisco. Cony was the former Assistant Coach for the USL Portland Timbers and has over 38 years of coaching experience at Club, High School, Collegiate, Professional and Olympic Development levels in California, Texas and Oregon. He played on the US Futsal National team as well as the professional team, Golden Gate Gales ASL and Semi-Pro Greek Americans. He is fluent in both English and Spanish.

  • FIFA Futsal Instructor since 2005
  • CONCACAF Coaching Instructor since 2016
  • United States Soccer Federation 'A' National Coaching License
  • Scottish Football Association UEFA 'A' Intermediate Certificate
  • National Soccer Coaches Association of America NSCAA Premier Diploma
  • Master Degree in Sports Management, University of San Francisco, CA 1994
  • Bachelor Degree in Liberal Arts, San Francisco State University, CA 1980
  • 2016 - Current - Director of Metros Futsal Academy
  • 2002 - Current - Director of Coaching for the Westside Timbers Soccer Club
  • Former Assistant Coach USL Portland Timbers Professional First Division.
  • Bilingual-English/Spanish.
  • 38 years of national and international coaching experience at Club, High School, Collegiate, Professional and Olympic Development Programs in California, Texas, and Oregon
  • Played on the US Futsal National Team
  • Played Professional Soccer Golden Gate Gales ASL
  • Played at University of San Francisco
  • Played Semi-Pro Greek Americans
  • Bilingual-English/Spanish
  • Lead a FIFA Technical Staff to train the UAE U17 Boys National Team in Dubai, in preparation for the FIFA U17 Boys World Cup in 2013
  • Participated FIFA Futsal Coaching Instructor's Seminar in Spain, La Rozas, 2011
  • Conducted FIFA course in Cuba, Egypt, Curacao, Equatorial Guinea, Abu Dhabi, Canada, Fiji, American Samoa, Cambodia
  • Scouting and translation for the PFL during at the FIFA Futsal World Cup 2016
  • Conducted the first USA Futsal Certificate Course for USYF, Boston Mass,