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Nigeria Players Abroad

Portland Thorns reveal motive for Nicole Payne loan signing

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By Oyediji Oluwaseun Babatunde

United States of America (USA) National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) side, Portland Thorns have revealed reasons for acquiring Nigeria defender, Nicole Payne.

Payne joined the American side on loan from former French champions, PSG.

General Manager and President of Soccer Operations at Portland Thorns, Karina LeBlanc opened up on why they decided to snap the player ahead of the 2024 NWSL season.

“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 on the club website.

“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,” Head Coach Mike Norris said.

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“This coupled with her physical capabilities to do so, make her a very exciting asset for us. We look forward to welcoming Nicole to the Thorns family.”

Payne previously played for the University of South Carolina at the Collegiate level. She also featured for West Virginia University where she scored four goals with three assists in 53 matches.