Open trial hailed a success

An open trial was held at PGE Park, with anyone who was interested invited to attend. More than 50 players from all across the country descended on Portland to put their talent on display for Timbers head coach Chris Agnello. The trial got under way at 10 a.m. and featured a number of different scrimmages.

“I was very impressed with the talent that was on hand,” said Agnello. “This week I was hoping for a little bit of extra flair, and I definitely think we got that.”

Many of the players attending the trial were local players looking to earn a spot on the team, although players from as far away as New Jersey, Maryland, Texas and Pennsylvania also made the trip. Familiar favorites Scot Thompson and Shaun Higgins participated in several of the full-squad scrimmages.

According to Agnello, several of the prospects were good enough to at least earn a trial spot with the Timbers, who will hold their first practice on April 1. Those players will be invited to attend a week of training with the team.

“I think there are a number of local players that we will invite to our training camp,” said Agnello. “I am very interested to see how several of them perform in and amongst our first team, and the first week of camp will provide the perfect opportunity to do that.”

Among the many trialists trying to make an impression was Australian-born winger Brian Handasyde, a former player at the University of Maine. Now an accountant at Oregon Health and Science University, he was one of the many with dreams of helping the Timbers this season.

Handasyde said he is familiar with the Timbers through a local coaching connection with longtime Timber Gavin Wilkinson.

“(Wilkinson) always had good things to say about the Timbers,” said Handasyde. “Now, my home is in Portland, and I would love to stay here and continue playing soccer.”