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PORTLAND -- Excitement is building for the Portland Thorns very first season in the new National Women s Soccer League, and their head coach is ready to deliver.

The schedule was announced this week and the Thorns open the season April 13 at Kansas City, followed by their home opener against the Seattle Reign on April 21.

Cindy Parlow Cone is Portland s head coach and has a long soccer resume. Now, she is hoping to add a new chapter here in the Rose City.

I'm loving Portland so far, says Parlow Cone. Everyone here has been so great and I cannot wait to meet all the fans, and actually to have the Thorns players here and training.

She grew up with soccer near Memphis, Tennessee. Since I was three years old I've been on the soccer field, she says. She became a superstar for the Tarheels of North Carolina, winning three national championships in college and earning two-time National Player of the Year honors in college in the late 90 s.

And that was just the start. Cindy played more than a decade for Team USA, winning two gold medals in the Olympics in 1996 and 2004, and the World Cup in 1999.

It's just such an honor to wear the crest and represent my country in the Olympics and in the World Cup, says Parlow Cone.

The 34-year old coach played pro soccer in Atlanta and retired from the national team seven years ago, but she still loves the game, saying, the passion, the enthusiasm, the competitiveness, the physical side of the game, the artists on the field and just the creativity from all the different players. I just love every aspect of the game.

She now has the job of leading the Thorns in their first season. It s a team with U.S. soccer superstar Alex Morgan and former Portland Pilot and Canadian national team superstar Christine Sinclair. Parlow Cone says they will have a pressing defense and and attacking offense with players the Rose City can be proud of.

Off the field, Parlow Cone says, Any one of the little girls out there and little boys, anyone they pick on the Thorns team to be their role model, they can't go wrong. They're going to represent the Thorns, and the city of Portland very well.

Training camp will start in mid-March.

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