Alumni

28 February 11:35 am

Photo: Traci Flitcraft / Portland Timbers

Longtime Timbers fans from the USL era may remember midfielder Troy Ready. The former University of Washington standout played three seasons for the Timbers and was had a huge presence in the club's community outreach programs.

By 2011, Ready had traveled halfway around the world to combine his abilities on the soccer pitch with his love of helping other people. Moving to Qurghonteppa, Tajikistan, Ready began work with the Millennium Relief and Development Services non-profit organization while playing for FK Vakhsh.

YanksAbroad.com catches up with him and talks about how it all came about.

"In 2005 I was invited to play on a professional soccer tour with a team called Ambassadors in Sport," Ready explained. "It was a compilation of several past and current players playing against Tajikistan's National team, Olympic team, and also they flew Afghanistan's national team to the country."

So in the midst of being there and seeing all of the opportunities football may unlock, it ended up being a good opportunity. And over the course of the next six years we made slow steps to moving ourselves and our family and making that our new home."

After establishing himself with FK Vakhsh, Ready worked with a number of American youth clubs that specialize in soccer development internationally. That, combined with his FK Vakhsh experience eventually landed him the job of the national team technical director. Never one to shy away from a challenge, the head coaching position at FK Vakhsh opened up recently and Ready has an eye towards taking that on along with his national team work.

"I've been in contact with the federation again. The former head coach of Vakhsh left to coach a different team up in the north," said Ready. "So, I'm putting my name in the hat for taking over as the head coach of Vakhsh along with the national team responsibilities and overseeing some of the youth clubs. "

In the end though, Ready has always been interested in humanitarian efforts along with the football aspect of his job. The former Husky is excited for his unique and rewarding opportunity in central Asia.

"It will be busy but it's something that I love to do, and it's a great platform beyond the football side of things," Ready went on to say. "There's just so many platforms for life and community development that have opened up as a result of coaching and playing It's a great platform beyond the football field."

It's a good read about an inspiring figure working hard both on and off the pitch.

26 December 11:15 am

Adin Brown in 2011 - Photo by Craig Mitchelldyer

After a time of year of giving, it is interesting to hear from a former Portland Timbers player who is now making a career of giving back. Adin Brown started the inaugural MLS match for the Portland Timbers in 2011 as part of a career that included helping lead the New England Revolution to the 2002 MLS Cup final, becoming a fan favorite with Norwegian side Aalesund (where he also scored a goal), to becoming the first ever Timbers Alumni Ambassador of the MLS era. Timbers fans will also be familiar with Brown's voice as he became a regular soccer analyst on Portland radio broadcasts during the 2012 season.

But it is in Brown's post-soccer career that he is perhaps having one of his biggest impacts. A longtime supporter of the Big Brothers Big Sisters program--he was a "Big" early in his career in Colorado--Brown had made appearances on their behalf while a player with the Timbers at their Northwest chapter in Portland. After retiring, Brown approached them about volunteering again and they countered with a job offer to head up their new Sports Buddies program. Sports Buddies helps pair adult mentors with kids around athletic activities.

A natural talker, Brown sat down with me to talk about his time off the pitch, his passion for BBBS Northwest and how he's making a difference in Portland. 

The Backcut Podcast sits at the intersection of Timbers, soccer & culture to explore the unique elements of the beautiful game. You can subscribe to The Backcut on iTunes in the same feed as the Talk Timbers podcast.

 

09 November 10:41 am

Dunseth (broadcasting) & Charles (NASL era)

You may recognize the voice of Brian Dunseth as it has become fairly ubiquitous across the American soccer spectrum. A soccer analyst on NBC Sports, Fox Soccer—often paired with our very own John Strong—as well as on Real Salt Lake and FC Dallas games, Dunseth has become a keen observer of Major League Soccer which should come as little surprise given his long playing career in MLS.

The first ever signing to the Project 40 initiative in 1997—now more commonly known as Generation adidas—Dunseth went on to play for the New England Revolution, Miami Fusion, Columbus Crew, Dallas Burn, and Real Salt Lake. After his playing career ended, Dunseth got into broadcasting but also teamed up with his old college teammate from Cal State Fullerton, Ben Hooper, to start a clothing company called Bumpy Pitch that bridges soccer, culture, history, and style. That same theme led their foray into an online “magazine” of sorts called The Original Winger that collects stories about soccer, shoes, watches, fashion, movies, music, and more.

But Dunseth also has a unique affinity to Portland. In 2000, he was the captain of a loaded US Olympic U-23s team that featured the likes of Frankie Hejduk, Ben Olsen, Conor Casey, Danny Califf and Landon Donovan as well as Timbers Alumni Ambassador Adin Brown. The head coach of that team was none other than Timbers legend Clive Charles who had a defining impact on Dunseth as a player and as a person.

In this episode of the Backcut, we talk about soccer in Portland, the influence of Charles both on a personal level and on American soccer, and much more. It’s an illuminating and emotional conversation. 

The Backcut Podcast sits at the intersection of Timbers, soccer & culture to explore the unique elements of the beautiful game. You can subscribe to The Backcut on iTunes in the same feed as the Talk Timbers podcast.

 

19 October 10:55 am

 

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.

19 September 4:07 pm

Photo: Steven Lenhart

Timbers alumni and fans are banding together to participate in Portland’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s in the name of former Timbers player Jimmy Conway.

Conway played for the Timbers from 1978 until 1980 and served as an assistant coach from 2001 until 2005. Diagnosed with trauma-induced dementia, Conway still remains active in the Timbers community with the help of friend, former teammate, and Timbers Alumni Ambassador Mick Hoban.

“My relationship with Jimmy is still good as he recognizes me in association with Timbers games. I have taken him to all of the Timbers home games the past two seasons,” said Hoban.

“As a friend and former teammate I was saddened to hear the diagnosis but like many other friends I said that I would do all I could do to help.”

Hoban has been involved in previous efforts to raise money for the Alzheimer’s Association in Conway’s name. After Conway’s diagnosis in 2010, friends and family members committed to a series of testimonial events for Conway - including a silent auction, a testimonial match and a golf tournament, leading to a donation of $21,000 to the Alzheimer’s Association.

The 2012 Portland Walk to End Alzheimer’s will be held Sunday, September 23 at Portland International Raceway. Timbers fans are invited to walk alongside Conway, Hoban, friends, family and Timbers Army members to raise money for the Alzheimer’s Association. Fans are encouraged to register with the Friends of Jimmy Conway team and to wear “something soccer” to the event.

For more information on the Alzheimer’s Association, Walk to End Alzheimer’s and dementia, visit the Alzheimer’s Association website here.

18 May 1:55 pm

 Timber Joey, soon to be bald

Oaks Park will definitely be the place to be on Saturday if you’re looking to see Timbers players AND help some great causes.

Yesterday, we wrote about Joe Bendik’s campaign to help his nephew and fight Cystic-Fibrosis via his Team Gavin and their Great Strides walk beginning at 9:00am at Oaks Park.

Also equally important is the work being done by the St. Baldrick’s Foundation and their help in finding cures for childhood cancers and helping survivors live long and healthy lives. As part of their fundraising efforts, they’ll also be out at Oaks Park this Saturday, May 19 with numerous Timbers players, staff, and alumni shaving their heads to help raise money for the foundation. To date, the Timbers St. Baldrick's team has raised over $12,000!

Beginning at 1pm tomorrow, forward Brent Richards, defender Ryan Kawulok, assistant coach Cameron Knowles, alumni ambassadors Scot Thompson and John Bain as well as Timber Joey—already sporting a mohawk (right)—will be among those in the Timbers community that will be going under the razor to shave their heads. All this happening not too long after the Great Strides walk.

There’s still time to give to both excellent causes and both have drawings with great Timbers gear available for people who donate. Joe’s Team Gavin is here and the Timbers page for St. Baldrick’s is here.

What are you waiting for? Donate! Head to Oaks Park! Walk with Joe! Then ride some rides! Then come and see people shave their heads! Have fun! Then be sure to cheer on the boys in green on Sunday!