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."
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.
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.
Timbers Academy co-director Mike Smith's unique MLS-led research trip to the French Football Federation continues.
After a long first, interactive day of class, on Monday night I was lucky enough to participate in a quite incredible Commencement Dinner with Gerard Houllier and Commissioner Don Garber. I can tell you that the French Chefs are brilliant!!! There were only 7 courses. :)
The course is definitely challenging from a theoretical point of view and they are looking for things a little differently from the way we do in Licenses for US Soccer. It is always good to see a different point of view and today (Tuesday) was more specifically looking at their teaching method, an introduction to their sports psychology module and some instruction on how to cut up videotape.
We got to see some of the U14/15 boys here training at Clairefontaine, the Parisian Regional Training Center. The U17 French National Team arrived today for 3 days of training and we hope to see them tomorrow.
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.
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.
From the rainy February of Portland to the snowy fields of the French Football Federation's national training facility in Clairefontaine, Timbers Academy co-director Mike Smith has traveled quite a distance.
Sent as part of a special MLS initiative to broaden league academy and player development, Smith was selected to partake in a extensive Elite Formation Coaching License program that involves close collaboration with the FFF as well as on-site observation and work with Ligue 1 side Paris Saint-Germain.
Freshly arrived in Paris this weekend, Smith was whisked away to the training facility and snapped a few photos:
Got to the French Training center... how amazing! It was snowing here most of the afternoon. We were taken into the local village for savory crepes for dinner with the obligatory red french wine. The scenery is so rustic and cool but we are in the middle of nowhere in the snow! Am staying in Chateau where French Men's National Team stay. I am in Lizarazu's room.
Throughout Smith's stay in France, we'll post updates and photos as they come through.
With just over a week to go befor the Portland Timbers' season opener against New York Red Bulls (Mar. 3, 4:30pm PT, ESPN2 - March to Soccer Opening Match presented by Alaska Airlines), the team has been preparing with a broader approach to their final preseason tournament match against AIK (Feb. 23, 5pm PT, webstream at www.portlandtimbers.com) treating it more as though it were a real league game. Midfielder Will Johnson called it a "dress rehearsal" and that there'd be a definitive emphasis on getting a virtual three points in anticipation of when they're in the fight for an actual three points.
For AIK, the situation is very similar. Long a mainstay of the country's top division Allsvenskan, AIK's season runs a similar spring-to-fall calendar as MLS. After a few preseason games of their own in Oxnard, Calif., the team has been in-residence in Portland for the Timbers preseason tournament. They drew 0-0 to FC Dallas in the opener and held another clean sheet in a 0-0 draw against San Jose Earthquakes in their second match.
Lee Baxter (right) is the team's goalkeeping coach and third 'keeper. In his first stint with the club from 1998-2000, Baxter was part of a team that made it to the Champions League and he played in matches against Arsenal, Barcelona, and Fiorentina. Growing up around soccer his whole life--his father Stuart was a club head coach in Sweden as well as leading the national teams of South Africa and Findland--Baxter has enjoyed a long and diverse soccer career. Now back with AIK, Baxter and I talk about how the team has been experiencing Portland, his hopes for AIK's 2013 season, and the importance of supporter's culture both in the U.S. and Sweden.
The Backcut Podcast sits at the intersection of Timbers, Thorns, 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.
Every year, the Portland Timbers take on a veritable army of interns to help across a host of departments. Whether it's public relations, marketing, sponsorship, game operations, soccer operations and everywhere in between, life as a Timbers' intern is rarely boring. Getting to see the inner workings of a Major League Soccer club is an enticing proposition--even if it doesn't pay any money--and former interns have gone on to get jobs with the club, the U.S. Soccer Federation, other MLS teams, and throughout the sporting landscape.
For last winter's PR and marketing intern Mike Ekstrom, however, leaving the Timbers did not entail returning to school. Rather, Ekstrom had another job already lined up that entailed reporting to Oakland A's spring training in Tucson, Ariz. with the club's pitchers and catchers contingent. The Portland, Ore. native who played his high school ball at Barlow High School and college at Oregon State, has spent parts of the last five MLB seasons as a reliever with the San Diego Padres, Tampa Bay Devil Rays, and Colorado Rockies.
"First internship ever," said the 29-year-old Ekstrom, a non-roster reliever in A's camp. "First taste of wearing dress clothes and going downtown and feeling like a real person."
Sharing time between helping organize the Dribble Oregon tour to writing the occasional article for portlandtimbers.com, Ekstrom was able to get a full picture of the inner front office workings of a pro sports franchise.
"It was kind of eye-opening because there was a lot of stuff I took for granted being on a pro sports team, so I have a little bit better perspective of the workings that go on. It was fun seeing all of the moving parts."
Are you looking to be the next Timbers intern? Apply online.
The U.S. Women’s National Team vs. Canada at the London 2012 Olympics. That’s really all that needs to be said, but in case you were on a trip to the Outback last summer and didn’t have access to a TV, internet, newspaper or any other form of news media here’s a quick refresher.
August 6, 2012 … Old Trafford … Manchester, England ... Olympic Semifinal
Christine Sinclair gives Canada a 1-0 lead 22 minutes into the match in front of 26,640 fans at famed Old Trafford, home of Manchester United, and the teams enter the interval with Canada grasping a 1-0 lead and a chance to head to the gold medal match.
USA midfielder Megan Rapinoe equalizes in the 54th minute and the match becomes a slugfest with Sinclair and Rapinoe (both former standouts at the University of Portland) trading goals. Sinclair nets her second goal, putting Canada ahead 2-1 in the 67th minute … Rapinoe hits back with her second, tying the score at 2-2 three minutes later in the 70th minute.
Sinclair gets a hat-trick with the go-ahead goal in the 73rd minute and Canada carries a one-goal lead into the final 10 minutes of regular time before the real drama kicks in. Canada’s goalkeeper Erin McLeod is called for holding onto the ball for more than six seconds – a rarely enforced rule, but one that awards the U.S. with an indirect free kick inside Canada’s penalty box. On the free kick, the ball strikes a Canadian player on the arm and a penalty kick is called.
Abby Wambach steps up and buries the spot kick to level the score at 3-3 in the 80th minute.
The two sides battled to a stalemate through 30 minutes of extra time, trading jabs before U.S. forward Alex Morgan rose up and looped a header into the goal in the third minute of stoppage time, the game’s 123rd minute to be exact and the latest ever goal scored in a FIFA competition.
Now, catch your breath.
The rematch is coming on June 2 in Toronto as the U.S. Women’s National Team faces Canada in an international (not so) friendly for the first time since that drama-filled Olympic semifinal match. Mark your calendar as several Thorns FC teammates could potentially clash on the field. Clearly, there are no medals on the line, but there's no doubt the intensity will be heightened as Canada will look to repay the USA for the match last summer.