Dream Team

Which Portland Thorn Should Biden Pick for Vice President?

Any of them would make a solid running mate, really, but here’s a shortlist.

By Margaret Seiler May 29, 2020

Former Vice President Joe Biden kicking off his presidential campaign in May 2019, and Portland Thorns goalkeeper Adrianna Franch following CDC guidelines in May 2020

“There are a number of women who are qualified to be president tomorrow. I would pick a woman to be my vice president.” Thus spoke Joe Biden in his March 15 debate with Bernie Sanders, their dueling podiums safely distanced on the stage. Now that his rivals have ended their campaigns and Biden, the presumptive nominee, has publicly started the vetting process for a running mate, the veep speculation is officially on.

Another candidate, in another party, in another time might have consulted his binders full of women. Might we suggest looking at some rosters full of women instead? With the National Women’s Soccer League looking to condense its season into a single-location monthlong tournament (the 2020 Challenge Cup), members of the Portland Thorns might be looking for some other projects to keep things lively this year.

That “natural-born citizen” rule for presidents and vice presidents probably isn’t going to change, so Thorns captain Christine Sinclair, born 20 miles (sorry, 32 kilometres) north of the US-Canada border, is out. But the age requirement, mandating the officeholders of president and vice president be at least 35, is downright arbitrary. If we just ignore that, then the Thorns roster gives the presumptive Democratic nominee some serious options. No presidential hopeful wants a running mate to steal their thunder, so we passed over those flashy goal scorers used to playing higher up the field (but are totally here for Heath 2024 and Horan 2032, when they'll be old enough to run for president for real) and zeroed in on some more defensive players to join the ticket.

Adrianna Franch

Native of Salina, Kansas. Helped build her own family’s house with Habitat for Humanity when she was a kid. Played for Oklahoma State University. Franch’s résumé screams HEARTLAND! The Thorns and US Women’s National Team goalkeeper also brings that major Truman “the buck stops here” and Gandalf “you shall not pass” energy we all want in our elected officials. And just picture the post-debate scene, when Franch introduces a quaking Mike Pence (whose record on LGBTQ+ issues as a congressman and Indiana’s governor is, um, spotty) to her wife while the Rose City Riveters who have packed the auditorium chant, “She’s our veeper!” Make it so, Joe.

Becky Sauerbrunn at Providence Park

Becky Sauerbrunn

This stalwart defender hasn’t even had a chance to suit up as a Thorn yet, landing on the roster in a late offseason trade from Utah. The VP role might be a demotion since Sauerbrunn is already a president—the first-ever president of the US Women’s National Team Players Association. Caitlin Murray’s 2019 book The National Team describes her behind-the-scenes role in making the NWSL a reality, and the book’s readers could easily suspect Sauerbrunn is already secretly running the entire country from her quarantine bunker. What’s more, she turns 35 in June, so she actually could be the running mate. Is Biden reading this?

Meghan Klingenberg

A Thorn since 2016, Klingenberg was on the victorious 2015 US Women’s National Team and has solid experience with shoring up support from the left (the left side of the pitch, but we’re pretty sure this experience translates to balancing a Biden ticket, too). She’s had plenty to say in the USWNT’s quest for equal pay, her tweets about her “quarantine mullet” make her highly relatable, and we know she looks absolutely boss in a Wildfang suit and is very comfortable on TV. Joe, get to vetting!

Emily Menges

The rally warm-up and candidate walk-out music options go on and on. Bob Seger’s “Like a Rock.” Ashford and Simpson’s “Solid as a Rock.” Rihanna’s “Work.” Dolly’s “9 to 5.” The dimpled defender has that same “aw, shucks” grin that led Bill Clinton to Al Gore, John Kerry to John Edwards, and Mitt Romney to Paul Ryan, but without all those dudes’ baggage. Her recent message of support and resiliency for Portland Public Schools students could easily be repackaged as inspirational campaign collateral. The Georgetown alum will feel right at home back in DC, and she’s always ready to push up her sleeves and get to business. Can we get someone working on the Biden-Menges graphics, stat, please? 

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