Higgins invited to tryout with Portland Thorns of NWSL
Feb. 6, 2013
AUSTIN, Texas - Senior forward Hannah Higgins has been invited to tryout with the Portland Thorns of the newly formed National Women's Soccer League (NWSL). Higgins, who is tied for ninth on Texas' career game-winning goals chart with nine and stands 10th in career assists with 14, will depart for Portland on Friday and try to earn a place on the squad for its inaugural season.
"I am honored and humbled to have the chance to tryout for a professional team," Higgins said. "It has always been a dream of mine to play beyond college."
The NWSL is an eight-team league organized and administered by the U.S. Soccer Federation. The league will begin play in the spring of 2013 with its eight founding clubs: the Boston Breakers, Chicago Red Stars, FC Kansas City, Portland Thorns FC, Seattle Reign FC, Sky Blue FC (New York/New Jersey), the Washington Spirit and the Western New York Flash.
The Thorns are led by head coach Cindy Parlow Cone, who made 158 international appearances and won the 1999 FIFA Women's World Cup as well as a pair of Olympic gold medals (1996 and 2004). Parlow Cone just missed being a teammate of Texas head coach Angela Kelly at the University of North Carolina as Parlow Cone was in Chapel Hill from 1995-98 while Kelly won four consecutive national championships from 1991-94.
Parlow Cone has already put together a talented roster for the Thorns in 2013, including U.S. Women's National Team forward Alex Morgan, midfielder Tobin Heath and defender Rachel Buehler. The roster also includes standout forward Christine Sinclair and Karina LeBlanc from the Canadian Women's National Team and defenders Marlene Sandoval and Luz Saucedo from the Mexican National Team.
"I'm so excited to get up there and play alongside plenty of other talented females from across the globe," Higgins added.
As a senior in 2012, Higgins was one of five players to start all 20 of matches Texas' matches. She led the Longhorns with five assists and 54 shots while tying for the top spot in game-winning goals with two. The Flower Mound, Texas, product also tied for second on the squad in points (11) and was alone in second in shots on goal (18).
During her final season, Higgins tallied game-winning goals against Fresno State (Sept. 14) and No. 22 Oklahoma State (Oct. 5). The goal score versus the Cowgirls helped UT to its first victory over a ranked foe since 2010 and pushed the team's Big 12 Conference mark to 3-0 for the first time since 2002. Higgins earned a spot on the TopDrawerSoccer.com Postseason (No. 19) and Midseason (No. 16) Big 12 Top 20 Teams and was placed on the 2012 Preseason All-Big 12 Team as voted on by the league's head coaches.
An All-Big 12 Second-Team honoree as a junior in 2011, Higgins started all 21 matches and finished second on the squad with 14 points. She paced UT with eight assists, tied for the seventh most among Big 12 players, and her average of 0.38 assists per game was good for sixth in the league. Higgins collected three goals and led the Longhorns with 42 shots, placing a squad-high 16 on goal.
Higgins started all 21 matches as a sophomore and tallied a squad fourth-best three goals. During her freshman campaign, she was named the Big 12 Newcomer of the Week following a three-point performance in a 2-1 win over Nebraska. Later in the year, she helped UT advance to the Big 12 Championship semifinals by scoring the team's lone goal over Colorado in the quarterfinals, drawing the Buffaloes' keeper out of the box in the 107th minute and finding the back of the net.
Off the field, Higgins earned a place on the 2012 and 2010 Academic All-Big 12 Second Teams and was a nominee for the 2012 Lowe's Senior CLASS Award.