Soccer in Oregon

09 April 4:09 pm

Tyron and his family were recipients of the Spread the Love welcome packet for the April 6th match against Houston.

Long-time Timbers season ticket holder and Axe Society member, Tim Birr, nominated Tyron. Tim has been a familiar face in the North End since 2001, and is a member of local drum and pipe band that has performed at many Timbers matches over the years.

Tyron is a long-time soccer fan, who saw his first Timbers game when he was a young boy. Because of his work schedule, he has been unable to attend a live MLS Timbers match, usually watching the television recording the next day.

Thanks to Tim’s nomination, Tyron was able to bring his wife, daughters, niece, and nephew to their first Timbers game.

We caught up with Tyron after the Houston game to ask him about his family’s experience at the match:

What was your reaction when you received the Spread the Love welcome packet?
I was overwhelmed at the amount of tickets I received. My wife and I both work and it's a struggle to see a Timbers match live. I grew up playing soccer at the age of five and most of the Timbers games I watched have been recorded from the night before, and I usually get up before the kids are awake and watch the games. To be able to take my children to the game was very special because I got to see my first Timbers match at their age.

What were you most looking forward to about attending a Timbers match?
Being there to watch the game live with other fans and knowing the excitement fans have at soccer match.

Describe your experience attending the game?
Sitting there with my wife and daughters meant the world to me. Growing up loving the game and knowing now that my children have seen a Timbers game they will become fans for life. The most excitement of the match was when the Timbers scored and my kids screamed with excitement! They truly enjoyed the match.

What does "Spread the Love" mean to you?
Spread the Love means an opportunity to become a bigger fan of the Timbers then I already am. I've watched and attended other sporting events, and appreciate the Timbers taking the time for people in the community that wouldn’t normally have an opportunity to see a match by giving them free tickets. Spread the Love means to me that the Timbers are really part of my community.

27 March 1:22 pm

Bless Field plan courtesy OPI

A ball, some kids, and a place to play. When you get down to it, soccer is a simple game.

However, sometimes finding that place to play becomes a challenge.

The good folks over at Operation Pitch Invasion have set out to change that. OPI, a tightly connected affiliate of the Timbers Army 107 Independent Supporters Trust, has been working since 2011 helping repair soccer fields throughout Portland as well as fundraising for the creation of whole new ones. 

Their next project is Bless Field at New Colombia. As their release says: "Bless Field is uniquely situated in a neighborhood where children from 22 countries, who speak 11 languages (plus the common language of soccer), take their first steps into integrating into the larger community." The Portland Timbers Community Fund has come on board with a commitment and OPI is organizing a very unique event to raise further funds that is sure to entertain the hardiest of Timbers fans:

“Beating Seattle Never Gets Old”
Thursday April 4; 7:00 pm
Hollywood Theatre, 4122 NE Sandy Blvd
$12 in advance; $15 at the door

Hosted by 5 Minutes to Kickoff's Bob Kellett and Steven Lenhart, the evening is a gathering of past Timbers greats from the NASL era including Willie Anderson, Bernie Fagan, Roger Goldingay, Mick Hoban, Bill Irwin, and Jimmy Kelly talking about great moments of Timbers history.

Come see highlights of the Timbers playing against Pele and his Cosmos in Portland in 1976; the Timbers playing the Chicago Sting at Wrigley Field in 1982; and, in an extended cut, the Timbers playing the Seattle Sounders in a playoff semifinal before a record crowd in Portland in 1975.  

It's a special night with some rare footage, great stories, and every penny raised goes straight back to Bless Field. Only 350 tickets are available, so get yours now.

14 March 12:57 pm

Image via Portland Mercury

"Communication, it's everything, on and off the field," Valeri says. "We go on the road and we can't learn. I want to start this month. I have coaching, an English teacher. She teaches me words and sentences, but I want to start. I want to watch films and read books. Only English."

If you want to learn more about what drives new Timbers midfielder Diego Valeri, why he came to MLS ("It's grown. I find a team, a club, MLS, that is spectacular"), how his family is settling into Portland (he's taken his four-year-old daughter, Constanza, to the zoo), how he's bonding with his teammates (he roomed with team captain Will Johnson in Tucson preseason), and how the Argentine is trying harder than ever to bring his English up to the same speed as his silky moves on the pitch (see above), then you must read this excellent feature by Brian Gjurgevich in this week's Portland Mercury. Grab a copy on your nearest street corner to save the artwork and read the piece online right here.

13 March 3:06 pm

Vince and his family were recipients of the Spread the Love welcome packet for the March 9th match against Montreal.

We asked Vince a few questions about his experience at the match with his son Shaun and two daughters Alexis and McKenna:

What is your relationship to the Spread the Love ambassador?
“Suite Sue” Simpson was our ambassador. She actually gave the “welcome” packet to Neal Harrington, who unfortunately was unable to attend the match due to a last minute work conflict. In turn, Neal really embraced the “Spread the Love” mantra and shared the packet with my family.

What were you most looking forward to about attending a Timbers match?
We had never been to a Timber's game before so anticipation was high on what to expect. The kids really wanted to see Timber Joey!

What was your favorite part of the match?
The kids enjoyed watching how the game was played, the intricacies of the sport and how quickly and skillfully the players moved on and around the field.

Have you ever been to a match? If so, what was the last time you attended?
No, this was the first Timber's game we had been to.  It was cool experience and very exciting.

What was your reaction when you received the "welcome" packet?
It was great - we were excited about everything.  We were all very excited that we had an opportunity to go!

Interested in nominating a deserving fan? You can, here. Recipients will be selected shortly for the two Timbers home matches in April. 

07 March 2:53 pm

Grant Wahl of Sports Illustrated, fresh from his revealing MLS player polls, recently put together a grand list of the 50 most important people in U.S. Soccer. It has many of the names you'd expect. The top 5 are, in order: U.S. Sports TV executives, U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati, MLS commissioner Don Garber, Nike and adidas.

Of local note though are two rather big names. Coming in at No. 9 is Thorns FC forward Alex Morgan of which Wahl writes:

Let's be honest: the 23-year-old Morgan has everything it takes (on the field and off) to become the next Mia Hamm. Just one example of her appeal: Morgan has in excess of a million Twitter followers, more than any U.S. soccer player, male or female.

In a tie for No. 23 is Timbers and Thorns FC owner Merritt Paulson paired alongside Sporting KC's owner Robb Heineman:

Young owners who live and die with their MLS teams, Heineman and Paulson are the faces of MLS 2.0 and the league's answers to Mark Cuban. If only every league owner cared as much.

Head over to SI.com to read the full list. Any names missing you think should be on there? Any names on there you disagree with?

06 March 4:02 pm

With the unique Spread The Love campaign off and running, we wanted to introduce a few of the lucky folks who were able to experience their first ever Timbers match last week. And what a game to kick things off? A tremendous rendition of the national anthem, excellent tifo, loads of goals, and a thrilling comeback. What more could you ask for?

Without further ado, here's the first group of worthy recipients.

Jeff Enquist, President of PYSA & head coach of Portland City United is one of the first group of 107 Ambassadors. He’s coached in high school, college and the pros and gave his tickets to one of his employees, Sonko. Sonko grew up playing soccer in Kenya and started a club soccer program for kids aged 6-8 there. In short, soccer is Sonko's life. 

“Timber Jim” Serrill--the original lumberjack who sawed logs in the North End--is also the charismatic gent who popularlized the phrase “Spread the Love” from which this whole idea originally sprang. An embodiment of Timbers passion, Timber Jim gave his tickets to young Karina. Karina battled through leukemia when she was 4--it's now in remission--and met Jim through the Leukemia Foundation. She had never been to a Timbers game before. Needless to say, she was very excited.

Rachel Harrison, another 107 Ambassador is an active community volunteer, Timbers Army supporter and committed season ticket holder. She met her friend Jessica at her church. Jessica's son plays club soccer in Portland and had never been to a match before either. Sunday's match was his first and was an instant classic.

Do you know someone whom you think is worthy? Visit www.spreadtheloveptfc.com to nominate someone you know in your community.
 

27 February 6:30 pm

The ever popular Portland Timbers Food Cart Alliance (PTFCA) makes its return this Sunday as the Portland Timbers kick-off the 2013 MLS season against the New York Red Bulls (Mar. 3, 4:30pm PT, ESPN2, 750AM The Game). Begun last year, the PTFCA invites Portland-area food carts to take over the Soccer City Grill in the southeast corner of JELD-WEN Field just above Section 93. Last season saw delicious Hawaiian food, fish & chips, and a whole slew of mouthwatering goodness. This season the carts return and will be at every Timbers and Thorns match throughout the 2013 season.

Following a fan vote in the offseason, the first set of carts are locked in. See the schedule here and keep an eye out for the next fan vote in April. 

The first food cart for 2013 is an apt one: Timber’s Doghouse PDX. Timber’s Doghouse is serving a variety of its signature tot bowls made with gourmet seasoned tatter tots with classic toppings such as bacon, grilled onions, and cheddar cheese. And yes, it is run by a person who's real name is Timber, Timber Adamson to be exact. She had this to say about her cart and it's presence at JELD-WEN Field:

"My dream to own a food cart began during my time in culinary school. I knew I wanted to work on my own but did not want the debt of a large restaurant. This was back before people really knew anything about food carts. There was just 2 carts downtown at 9th & Alder. 

I love making people delicious food and seeing them enjoy it. Simple as that. Working as an executive chef in fine dining had its creative culinary moments, but there was a disconnect between the food and the experience  As a food cart owner, I have the freedom to be creative as well as the joy of interacting with my patrons.  

I'm eagerly anticipating my first Timbers game! Although hearing 20,000 fans chant my name could be odd."

Are you a Portland-area food cart that wants to get involved? Check out the details here.

26 February 6:29 pm

#JerseyWeek has taken over MLS this week with new kits dropping in Houston, Toronto, New York and Colorado among others.

The Portland Timbers get into the act with a unique event this week at Last Thursday on NE Alberta in Portland. Long a bastion of art galleries and creativity, the Timbers will unveil their new primary and secondary kits as part of the art show Green & Gold: A Tribute to the Portland Timbers.

Along with players Diego Valeri and Ryan Johnson being on hand to present the new kits, curator Chris Haberman has put together a show that features original artwork created by fans and inspired by Timbers soccer. Spread across the galleries of NE Alberta, The Talisman and Best Art Gallery will have the bulk of the show and each will be for sale to the public with proceeds split between the artists and the Portland Timbers Community Fund. Other participating galleries include Guardino, Six Days Art Co-Op, Screaming Sky, Antler & Make House and the Red Rover trailer. Hop on the ever popular pedicabs and buzz up and down the street to see them all.

Haberman will also have a large mural piece of his own that fans will be invited to help contribute to and will be installed at JELD-WEN Field for the 2013 season.

Following the jersey unveiling, staff from the adidas Timbers Team Store will be on hand to start selling the new primary and secondary kits. 

26 February 12:04 pm

The eminent soccer writer Grant Wahl of Sports Illustrated spent a good chunk of the preseason asking MLS players about the state of the league. In a recent article, he posted the answers to things like, "Who's the most underrated player in MLS?" and "Who's the most overrated player in MLS?"

Perhaps most interestingly for Portland fans was the question, "If you could play for one MLS team other than yours, what would it be?"

Among the top choices? The Portland Timbers.

Portland also humbly scored high on "Which team has the best MLS stadium atmosphere?" landing up there with Seattle though Wahl goes on to say, 

Seattle has bigger numbers (more than 43,000 fans per game), while Portland may have an even harder core.

Read the whole piece here and keep an eye out for Part Two tomorrow.

26 February 11:41 am

Two years ago, Portland Timbers midfielder Jack Jewsbury teamed up with Ziba Design to help create a special bag as part of Girls, Inc's annual Power of The Purse fundraiser. You can see video of Jack's creation here

This year, new Thorns FC head coach Cindy Parlow Cone takes up the challenge in designing a purse. Girls, Inc.--one of the Thorns main Stand Together partners--is an organization that inspires girls, ages 8-18, to be strong, smart, and bold. Via gender-specific programs and research-based curricula, the group provides girls with the confidence and self-esteem to access a bright and economically-independent future.

Cone sat down with Bella, a 7th grader from Da Vinci Middle School and a host of Girls, Inc. Radio, for a special interview where Bella interviews Cindy and then Cindy, in turn, interviews Bella. They talk about their respective background, sisterhood, and inspirations. It's a great listen (scroll to the bottom to hear Cone's interview).

To learn more about the Power of the Purse event and to purchase tickets, visit them here.