The NWSL may be the American women’s soccer league, but some of their strongest players come from all around the world. This series will look at some of those internationals that you may not know a lot about. Each article will highlight their style of play, the role they play on their national team, and the role they play in their club.
This time we’ll be looking to the Portland Thorns and French international Amandine Henry.
What Does She Do?
Amandine Henry is a midfielder who plays for the Portland Thorns and the French National Team. Widely considered to be one of the best midfielders in the world, Henry is the only French international playing in the NWSL. She has diverse strengths in the midfield, being able to play both attacking and defensive roles depending on the situation. Prior to joining the Thorns, Henry spent nine seasons with Olympique Lyonnais (Lyon). She played a massive role in bringing the world’s attention to both Lyon and France.
L’Equipe de France
Henry made her first senior appearance with the French national team in 2009. She has earned 61 caps for the senior team, appearing in the World Cup, the Olympics, and the Women’s Euros, and has scored six goals. She was a part of the team that won the SheBelieves Cup in the United States earlier this year, serving as the captain in their first match against England and starting in all three matches in the tournament. While she might struggle with a language barrier in Portland, on l’Equipe de France she is a vocal leader. She has been nominated for and won countless awards. In 2015 and 2016, she was put on the shortlist for FIFA Women’s Player of the Year. In 2015, she made the FIFPro XI and was put on the shortlist for it again in 2016. Following the World Cup, she was named to the Women’s World Cup All-Star Team after starting in all five matches for France and scoring a goal in the group stage against Mexico. In 2015-2016, she was the runner-up for UEFA Women’s Player of the Year, which she ultimately lost to her former Lyon teammate Ada Hegerberg.
Portland Thorns FC
Henry plays more of a solidly defensive role on the Thorns. She started and played in the first twelve matches for the team this year and scored her first NWSL goal on May 27th in the team’s 2-0 win against the Boston Breakers. Last season, she earned ten appearances in nine starts for the Thorns, tallying one assist. Henry plays amongst a strong midfield in Portland, arguably the strongest midfield in the NWSL. Yet even amongst a crowd that includes players such as Tobin Heath, Dagny Brynjarsdottir, Lindsey Horan, Meg Morris, and Allie Long, Henry is a regular starter. That alone speaks volumes about her strength and skill. When she made her move to the NWSL last year, it was a massive boost for the league. Being able to draw one of the best players in the world away from one of the best teams in the world lifted the NWSL to another level. Henry’s reason for the move was quite clear—she wanted to win a championship in what she viewed to be the best women’s soccer league in the world. She’s still chasing after that dream—maybe this year will be the year it comes true.