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Payton Linnehan Drafted No. 11 Overall By Portland Thorns In 2024 NWSL Draft

Penn State women’s soccer forward Payton Linnehan is off to the NWSL.

Linnehan was selected by the Portland Thorns as the No. 11 overall pick in the first of the NWSL Draft Friday night.

She’ll join Nittany Lions Sam Coffey and Rocky Rodriguez in Portland.

Linnehan aided the Nittany Lions’ deep NCAA Tournament with five goals, including an opening-round hat trick against Central Connecticut State and a 98th-minute game-winning goal against Saint Louis to move on to the Elite Eight for the first time in five years.

The Milford, Massachusetts, native was named to the TopDrawerSoccer National Team of the Week after performances against Central Connecticut State and Saint Louis.

Linnehan appeared and started in 19 games for the Nittany Lions in 2023 and registered 10 goals and four assists. She finished tied on the team in goals scored, sixth in the Big Ten in total goals, and ranked second on the team in overall scoring with 24 points.

Since her arrival in Happy Valley in 2019, Linnehan recorded over 5,000 minutes of play, 34 goals, 24 assists, and 77 games started through 90 appearances. Linnehan’s notched seven career game-winners and was named the Big Ten Tournament’s Most Valuable Offensive Player in 2019 after scoring the game-winning overtime goal to clinch the tournament title.

The forward has plenty of U.S. Youth National Team experience at the U-15, U-17, and U-23 levels, including earning the Golden Boot award for her eight goals in the 2016 CONCACAF U-15 Championship.

As a recruit, Linnehan was ranked as the No. 15 overall prospect in the Class of 2019 and the class’ No. 5-ranked forward.

The Thorns finished No. 2 in the regular season in 2023 with a 10-5-7 record. Portland’s roster is highlighted by Sophia Smith, Meghan Klingenberg, Becky Sauerbrunn, and Nittany Lions Coffey and Rodriguez.

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About the Author

Keeley Lamm

Keeley is a junior journalism major from Richmond, Virginia, and is Onward State's managing editor. She also talks about awesome stuff on our podcast, Podward State. Keeley is a lover of grilled cheese and Kevin Jonas. If you'd like to share your thoughts on the superior Jonas Brother, feel free to contact her on Twitter @keeleylammm or send your best joke to her email [email protected].

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