Timbers sign Haitian midfielder James Marcelin

PORTLAND, Ore. – The Portland Timbers have signed Haitian National Team midfielder James Marcelin for the 2010 season, it was announced today pending USSF approval. Marcelin played the past two seasons with the Puerto Rico Islanders.

A native of St. Marc, Haiti, Marcelin returned to Haiti during the offseason and endured the recent earthquake that hit the country in January. He and his family escaped unharmed; Marcelin has arrived in Portland to begin preparation for the upcoming season.

“James is an experienced player and is starting to come into his own on the international stage,” said Gavin Wilkinson, Timbers general manager and head coach. “His development over the last few seasons is encouraging, and we feel he has tremendous potential.

“We are thankful that James and his family are safe after such a traumatic event, and we hope that we can make Portland feel like home.”

Marcelin, 23, has been a member of the Haiti National Team since 2007, recently competing in the 2009 Gold Cup. He appeared in all four of the team’s matches during the tournament, including a 2-2 draw against the United States, and scored a goal against Grenada.

Coming up through the Haitian National Team system, Marcelin also played at the U-20 and U-23 levels prior to joining the senior team. Other international competition for Marcelin includes the 2007 Gold Cup, a 2010 World Cup qualifier against Costa Rica, and the CONCACAF U-23 tournament in 2008.

With the Islanders from 2008-09, Marcelin played in 31 games and registered one assist. In his first season with Puerto Rico, he aided in the club’s run to the regular-season championship and an appearance in the finals. Marcelin has also played in the last two CONCACAF Champions League tournaments with the Islanders, facing some of the best clubs in North America.

Marcelin began his professional career in his native Haiti, and played for Racing Club de Haiti, historically one of the best clubs in the country, from 2006-07.

Additionally, the Timbers today announced the club has sold the rights of defender Takuro Nishimura to Crystal Palace Baltimore of the USSF Division 2 Pro League. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. Nishimura, 32, appeared in 13 matches and logged 619 minutes for the Timbers in 2009.

On Wednesday, Feb. 17, the Timbers will participate in a charity match with proceeds benefitting Mercy Corps and its Haiti relief efforts. The event features a team of Timbers trialists against the University of Portland men’s soccer team at Merlo Field at 7 p.m. Tickets are $7 and can be purchased through local Ticketmaster outlets, online at www.ticketmaster.com or by phoning (800) 745-3000.

The Timbers open the 2010 campaign on Saturday, April 17, at PGE Park as they play host to the Rochester Rhinos at 7 p.m. Season ticket packages, starting at just $96, can be purchased by calling (503) 553-5555. Those who purchase a 2010 season-ticket package or make a $50 per-seat deposit towards 2011 MLS season tickets gain priority status for season tickets for the Timbers inaugural MLS season in 2011. Additional ticket information is available at www.portlandtimbers.com or www.PortlandMLS2011.com.