Timbers open training camp at PGE Park

PORTLAND, Ore. – The Portland Timbers opened preseason training camp Monday at PGE Park. Signed players and invited trialists unofficially kicked off the 2008 season with a series of drills and scrimmages in a morning training session at the stadium.
 
Reporting for Duty: Thirty total players reported for the Timbers opening day of training camp. Second-year head coach Gavin Wilkinson got a chance to see some of the new faces on the team’s 2008 roster, including midfielder Miguel Guante, forward Chris Brown, defender Tim Karalexis and goalkeeper Jordan James.
 
Thirteen signed players reported for camp Monday, including midfielders Andrew Gregor and Shaun Higgins, defenders Cameron Knowles and Scot Thompson and forwards Chris Brown and Chris Bagley. Midfielder Kiki Lara is expected in camp Tuesday.
 
The new FieldTurf at PGE Park: The first day of camp also marked the Timbers’ first training session on PGE Park’s new state-of-the-art FieldTurf playing surface that was installed earlier this year.
 
“Personally when I heard news over the winter about getting new turf, I was very excited,” said Bagley. “From talking to the other guys, we all were anxious to get into preseason so we could kick a ball around and try it out. After training today, we were talking about how great of a session we had and how the new surface played; it exceeded all of our expectations.”
 
“We were all pretty happy when we heard the news about the new playing surface, especially the guys who’ve played here for a few years,” said Higgins. “It plays more like a natural surface.”
 
Mark your calendars: The Timbers preseason schedule includes two marquee matches as they prepare for the upcoming USL First Division season. On March 28, the Timbers face Major League Soccer’s San Jose Earthquakes in a preseason doubleheader at the University of Portland’s Clive Charles Soccer Complex at 7:30 p.m. Then, the Timbers face Gonzaga University on March 30 at Lincoln Park Stadium near the campus of Pacific University in Forest Grove, Ore. Kickoff against Gonzaga is slated for 2 p.m.
 
View pictures from the first day of training camp in the photo gallery.