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06 June 2:03 pm

Photo by L.M. Parr

The St. Baldrick's Foundation is an organization that raises money to fund the research of childhood cancer. Saturday, June 8th, will mark the 11th annual St. Baldrick's event at Oaks Park in Portland. In the months leading up to the event, participants organize teams and set fundraising goals. This year's Portland Timbers team is led by forward Brent Richards

Richards, who particpated in last year's event, recently had knee surgery and has chosen this fundraising effort as a way to contribute to his team and community during his recovery process. The team's goal was set at $3,000, and they just reached it. You can help Brent and the team beat their goal by donating here.

On Saturday, Richards and others from the Timbers organization will shave their heads at the event as a sign of support for St. Baldrick's and the youth affected by cancer. The Timbers and St. Baldrick's encourage everybody to come out and participate, whether it be by shaving your head, donating, volunteering, or showing up to show your support. 

The festivities get going this Saturday at Oaks Park at noon and Richards is scheduled to shave go bald at 1:50pm.

05 June 10:13 am

Courtesy of Roger Bennett.A colorized image of the American
Soccer League All-Stars team.
Olaff is at center in the baseball cap.

""It has been so exciting to savor MLS's growth," he exclaimed with enthusiasm. "When I watch television and see that packed stadium in Portland, I cannot believe it is in America. I could never have dreamed of a scene like that when I grew up in the 1920s and soccer was strictly for immigrants," he admitted. "But when you look at my life, you see, it has taken a good long time for it to get to where it is today."

Those are the words of  U.S. soccer legend Gene Olaff. Before Landon Donovan or Alexi Lalas, before John Harkes or Paul Caligiuri, Olaff was blazing a new trail for American soccer. Now 92, he is the oldest living former U.S. international and was a goalkeeper in the old semi-professional American Soccer League.

As the U.S. Soccer Federation celebrated their 100th year this past weekend, Roger Bennett of Grantland and ESPNFC.com fame wrote a brilliant piece about this living legend where he describes some of the early rise of soccer in America. It is a must read for soccer history aficionados. Also check out their great look at an all-time most influential U.S. XI for more history.

03 May 9:57 am

A busy summer awaits for Jurgen Klinsmann and his USMNT squad as they'll have key World Cup qualifiers in June followed by the CONCACAF Gold Cup in July.

Portland will host two group stage matches in a double header on July 9 with US vs. Belize and Costa Rica against Cuba. Who Klinsmann will bring to Portland has been a big discussion but there's at least one name that has surfaced: Bolton's Stuart Holden.

The ex-Houston Dynamo midfielder became a key player in the EPL before a series of injuries tripped him up. Now on the comeback with a number of appearances on loan with Sheffield Wednesday, Klinsmann said of Holden, "I spoke to his coach at Bolton, and spoke to his coach at Sheffield Wednesday where he played some very important minutes and games while on loan. He’s on his way back. That being said, we want to have him back in our picture. We are going to bring him for the May-June camp, and also for the Gold Cup.”

Read more about the story over at ussoccer.com, watch video on Holden's inspiring comeback below, listen to SI's Grant Wahl talk about what to expect with this summer's Gold Cup and then get tickets for the Gold Cup showdown at JELD-WEN Field.

25 April 3:15 pm

Last week we shared Jared Montz’s journey across the country, and more specifically about his time in Portland. The former Chicago Fire teammate of Will Johnson is raising funds and awareness for the OSA World Juggle-a-thon and Nothing But Nets.

Since then, Jared has completed his tour and and shared the final video, which includes several Timbers and Thorns players.

Today is World Malaria Day, which means today is the Juggle-a-thon. If you didn’t see Jared’s story, you can catch up here.

It’s also not too late to donate, which you can do here.

23 April 3:12 pm

Sunday's Portland Thorns FC home opener was memorable for many reasons.

There was the 2-1 win over the Seattle Reign FC

There was the record setting 16,479 crowd in attendance.

There was the goals by Marian Dougherty and Alex Morgan.

And then, of course, there was THE HAIR. Hear goalkeeper Karina LeBlanc talk about her special edition 'do for the first ever Thorns home opener:

Want more Karina LeBlanc? Vancouver B.C.'s The Province, fresh from their great profile of fellow Canadian Christine Sinclair, does an excellent feature on LeBlanc's arrival in Portland and her deep commitment to the UNICEF Sports Ambassador program. Read it here.

23 April 11:38 am

Craig Mitchelldyer/Portland Thorns FC

Portland Thorns FC forward Christine Sinclair is The Equalizer’s National Women’s Soccer League Week 2 Player of the Week as voted on by the editors of the site.

The former University of Portland star and current Canadian national teamer earned a point on Sunday after she played a sensational ball to forward Alex Morgan, who netted the game-winning goal in the 52nd minute of a 2-1 win over Seattle Reign FC.

When asked about her role as more of an attacking midfielder against Seattle, Sinclair told The Equalizer, "It was an adjustment on my part; more feeding the forwards instead of being the one receiving the ball."

Sinclair, who scored Thorns FC first franchise goal in the season opener at Kansas City, now leads the NWSL in points (3).

For the full story, visit The Equalizer.

19 April 1:56 pm

One of the most beautiful things about soccer is its ability to unite people around the world, whether it’s behind a team, a nation, or in this case, a cause.

Former professional soccer player Jared Montz believes that part of being a pro is giving back to your community. He started the Online Soccer Academy to provide free online resources and training to soccer players around the world.

This year, the Online Soccer Academy is putting on their 3rd annual charity event called the OSA World Juggle-a-thon to raise money for Nothing But Nets. On April 25, World Malaria Day, players of all ages will juggle at 6pm their standard time anywhere in the word they have a ball. Jugglers try to beat their personal juggling records and in the process they raise money for Nothing But Nets.

Every 60 seconds a child in Africa dies from a malaria infection. With this in mind, the UN Foundation created Nothing But Nets in 2006 to raise money to provide African children with anti-malaria bed nets. The campaign was inspired by sports columnist Rick Reilly, who challenged each of his readers to donate at least $10 to purchase anti-malaria bed nets.

As part of the campaign, Jared Montz is Soccer Walking America. This 45 day, 15-city video series tour to raise awareness for the event included a stop in Portland, where Montz juggled with some of the Timbers and Thorns.

To become a juggler and fundraise, or to make a one time donation, please visit the OSA World Juggle-a-thon website.

Follow Jared Montz on Twitter to keep track of his tour. 

08 April 2:21 pm

Thorns FC teammates Alex Morgan and Rachel Buehler are currently with the U.S. national team in Holland preparing for their friendly with The Netherlands tomorrow. Training alongside them are FC Kansas City's Becky Sauerbrunn, Nicole Barnhart, and Lauren Cheney. Though they'll all be on the same side tomorrow, they'll be battling against each other on Saturday. Hear from each of them as they discuss the opcoming NWSL season opening match.

05 April 4:39 pm

On the U.S. Soccer Federation's 100th birthday, Thorns FC forward Alex Morgan and the U.S. Women's National Team had a bit of a crazy game against Germany this morning. Despite taking a 3-1 lead on goals by Abby Wambach (47th minute), Megan Rapinoe (55) and Morgan (71), Germany battled back with two late goals in the 85th and 86th minute in front of 16,090 fans in Offenbach, Germany. Second-half sub Sydney Leroux had a late effort saved off the line in one of the wilder games in recent U.S. WNT memory.

Morgan started and played the full 90 minutes for the United States, while Thorns FC defender Rachel Buehler was an unused substitute. Midfielder Tobin Heath, who will join Thorns FC this summer after playing out her contract with French side Paris Saint-Germain, entered the match in the 77th minute for Heather O'Reilly.

Morgan's goal in the 71st minute came off a long, curling pass over the top of Germany's defense from FC Kansas City midfielder Lauren Cheney.

On Thursday morning, Thorns FC forward Christine Sinclair and the Canada Women's National Team tangled with France in a rematch of the London 2012 Olympics bronze-medal match (which Canada won). Despite going down 1-0 during first-half stoppage time on a well-placed Elodie Thomis goal, Canada kept it close and struck late in second-half stoppage time.

Sinclair collected a deflected ball and slipped a pass right into the path of Kaylyn Kyle in the fourth-minute of second-half stoppage time and Kyle netted the equalizer for Canada in front of 5,783 fans at Stade du Ray in Nice, France. Thorns FC goalkeeper Karina LeBlanc was an unused sub for the match.

Canada is back in action on Sunday, April 7 at 7 a.m. (Pacific) against England at New York Stadium in Rotherham, England. The U.S. Women's National Team visits The Hague, Netherlands on Tuesday, April 9, for a 10 a.m.  (PT) match against the Netherlands at Kyocera Stadium.