Leading college and youth soccer website TopDrawerSoccer.com recently ranked the Top 150 players from the class of 2014. Number One on the list? Timbers U-16 Academy forward Rubio Rubin.
The Beaverton native is currently playing with the U.S. U-17 National Team and most recently helped the side to a 3-1 win over Uruguay in a friendly in Buenos Aires on Sunday. Rubin has scored in three of his last six appearances with the U.S. U-17s and was selected to a 20-man roster to compete in the Four-Nations Cup in Buenos Aires this week. The match against Uruguay was one of two friendlies bookending the tournament.
For the first year of the Timbers Academy, this is promising development.
The North American Soccer League (NASL), not the Clive Charles and Pele dominated one of the late 70s, but rather the newer second division of US Soccer--heads into the weekend with the Soccer Bowl on the line. The defending champion Minnesota Stars put together another Cinderella run to make the two-leg final against the Tampa Bay Rowdies with the first match tomorrow at the National Sport Center in Blaine, MN at 4:30pm PT with the return leg happening on Oct. 27 at the Al Lang Stadium in Tampa.
The Rowdies feature two players with Portland connections in former USL Timbers Dan Antoniuk and Keith Savage. Anotoniuk played 61 matches with the Timbers from 2003-2005 scoring 17 goals while Savage played 41 matches from 2009-2010 tallying three goals. The Stars also have some connections with the Timbers. Portland 2012 MLS Supplemental Draft pick Miguel Ibarra--who did not make the Timbers--had three goals and four assists for Minnesota this year while captain Kyle Altman and Kevin Friedland both were part of Timbers assistant coach Amos Magee's gold medal winning US team at the the 2007 Maccabi Games in Buenos Aires. Altman was an 2012 NASL Best XI selection this year and Friedland triples his playing duties by also serving as an assistant coach and director of business development.
Jonah Freedman's "Throw-in" column takes a look at the growth of the NASL and how MLS is looking at ways to partner with them. Is it a developmental league? Do the MLS Reserve teams play in the NASL? How does the NASL maintain it's own brand identity? It's a great read about a burgeoning league--hello San Antonio Scorpions and your sellout crowds--and I recommend the read on MLSsoccer.com.
Want to know more about the Minnesota-Tampa Bay match-up? Read Brian Quarstad of InsideMNsoccer.com's preview. Quarstad is a great resource on the second division of North American soccer.
2012-13 marks the first season for the Timbers Academy teams as they begin competition fielding a U-16 and U-18 squad. Under the overall umbrella of the U.S. Development Academy, USsoccer.com did a profile of the growing Timbers side and talked with Academy co-director and head coach for the U-16s, Mike Smith, about how the hunt for players began and the progress the team has made in their first season.
“Portland is a hotbed for soccer in so many ways,” Smith said. “When youngsters can watch their local heroes train at a high level, the excitement filters down. I’ve seen that with the numbers we’ve had at tryouts and the players at our regional training centers. We’ve had a number of our U-17/18 players get pulled into the MLS Reserves or even see a few minutes of action, and they have aspirations to play up the chain."
PortlandTimbers.com will have weekly Academy updates every Monday, but this is also a good place to start to see some of the future of Timbers player development. Read the whole piece here.
When things are clicking, things are clicking.
Caleb Porter and the Akron Zips began the defense of their Mid-America Conference title on Friday night with a 2-0 win over Bowling Green--their third shutout in a row. Senior David Maves, the reigning MAC Player of the Week, continued in his quest to unseat Evan Bush as the all-time Akron leader in shutouts making six saves. Freshman Alfred Koroma (right) and senior Scott Caldwell both tallied goals for Akron while the team peppered Bowling Green with 30 shots--a 14-3 advantage in the first half alone. Caldwell leads the Zips with five goals in eight games in 2012.
It was Porter’s 39th straight league match without a loss going back to 2007—good for third on the NCAA's list for the longest conference unbeaten streak. UA improved to 82-1-3 when scoring two or more goals and 100-3-4 when scoring first under Coach Porter.
After their two wins, MLS on Campus rankings has the Zips holding steady at No. 4 with shoutouts for Colorado Rapids Academy freshman attacking midfielder Dillon Serna and predict the New England Revolution will move to sign Caldwell as a Homegrown player at season's end.
The Zips will continue MAC play next weekend when they host Buffalo Saturday night at 4:30pm PT, at FirstEnergy Stadium – Cub Cadet Field.
Elsewhere in the college ranks, former Timbers U-23s midfielder Steven Evans dropped a first-half hat trick for the University of Portland on Seattle University in the Husky Fever Classic in Washington only to fall 4-3 in the match. The Pilots lost to No. 21 Brown on Sunday 2-0 and are currently 2-4-1 on the year. Also at the same tournament in Seattle, Timbers U-23s goalkeeper Spencer Richey picked up a shutout in University of Washington's 2-0 win over Seattle University on Sunday.
Heading south to Oregon State University and things are definitely clicking for Timbers U-23s forward Emery Welshman (right). The senior was named TopDrawerSoccer.com’s Player of the Week and was included in the College Soccer News National Team of the Week for his offensive explosion last week. The striker had a hat trick in a 6-1 win over Univ. of Wisconsin-Green Bay on Friday and then a double overtime golden goal against UC-Irvine in Sunday’s 1-0 thriller both as part of the Oregon State Hensor/Zaher Nike Classic tournament.
Fellow Timbers U-23s Roberto Farfan and Chris Harms joined Welshman on the all-tournament team. Apparently, teammate Farfan helped teach Welshman how to cook (watch video below).
You can watch this Beavers trio on the Pac-12 Networks next Sunday at 4pm PT as they take on Spencer Richey and the Univ. of Washington Huskies.
The Timbers Academy teams--fresh from announcing their inaugural rosters--take to the field for the first time this weekend against the academy squads of Chivas USA and LA Galaxy.
“We know that thanks to U.S. Soccer we got an easy weekend to start off,” Timbers Academy Director Mike Smith jokingly told TopDrawerSoccer.com. “It is the highest level of competition [playing Chivas USA and Galaxy]. After four weeks of preseason, we are excited to see where the boys are. It will be a good learning lesson for us.”
The article also talks about Timbers U-16 winger Rubio Rubin who was a member of the adidas Timbers Alliance club Westside Timbers and is training with the US U17 Residency program in Florida.
Finally, central Oregon's Bend Bulletin has a good article on Timbers U-16 player Logan Riemhofer who is bypassing his high school team in Bend for the opportunity to be a part of the Timbers Academy. Though a difficult decision, his former coach at Mountain View High School, Chris Rogers, gives his full support:
“As bad as you want him to stay and play for you, (the academy) is so much more important a place to go for his development. I told him if I had that chance (in high school) I would have jumped at the opportunity," he added.
“This is the absolutely best thing for American soccer," Rogers says. “We’re finally doing what the rest of the world has done for the past 50 years."
“I want him to play for that team (the Timbers’ MLS club)," Rogers says. “I want to watch him play professionally and know I did everything I could to help him along the way."