Timbers U-23s Rilatt, Richards earn PDL top honors

PORTLAND, Ore. – Portland Timbers U-23s head coach Jim Rilatt was named the Premier Development League’s 2010 Coach of the Year and forward Brent Richards was honored as the league’s Most Valuable Player and Rookie of the Year, it was announced today at PGE Park by United Soccer Leagues at the PDL Awards Ceremony.

Kicking off 2010 PDL Championship events, the PDL presented its annual Coach of the Year, MVP, Rookie of the Year, Defender of the Year and Goalkeeper of the Year awards at the ceremony. The PDL Final Four begins tonight at 5 p.m., with a semifinal doubleheader at PGE Park; the Timbers U-23s face Reading United AC at 7:30 p.m.

Richards highlighted the event, receiving two of the PDL’s top honors. The Camas, Wash., native finished the regular season ranked second in the league with 14 goals and placed among the PDL’s top scorers. Richards set new Timbers U-23s single-season records for goals, goals scored in a single game (4) and goals scored in consecutive games (5). During the week, Richards was named to both the All-Western Conference and All-PDL teams.

In his second season as the head coach of the Timbers U-23s, Rilatt, a Portland native, guided the Timbers U-23s to a perfect 16-0-0 record during the regular season, marking the first time since 1998 that a PDL side posted a perfect record – without a loss or draw. The Timbers U-23s won their first Northwest Division and Western Conference championships in 2010, and led the 67-team league in scoring (53 goals) and fewest goals allowed (6) during the campaign. He coached four all-conference players and two all-league selections in 2010.

Also competing in the championship weekend, defender Joe Tait of the Baton Rouge Capitals received the Defender of the Year award, while Ironbound Express goalkeeper Ryan Meara was honored as the league’s Goalkeeper of the Year.

The MVP, Rookie of the Year and Coach of the Year awards were voted on by team management from around league, while the Defender of the Year and Goalkeeper of the Year recipients were chosen based upon total all-conference votes.

The winners of Friday’s semifinal matches will battle it out for the 2010 PDL championship Saturday at PGE Park at 4 p.m. live on Fox Soccer Channel. A third-place game will be held at 1 p.m. on Saturday at PGE Park; fans can watch the consolation match live online at www.usllive.com.

2010 PDL Award Recipients:
Brent Richards, Portland Timbers U-23s

Rookie of the Year
Brent Richards, Portland Timbers U-23s

Coach of the Year
Jim Rilatt, Portland Timbers U-23s

Defender of the Year
Joe Tait, Baton Rouge Capitals

Goalkeeper of the Year
Ryan Meara, Ironbound Express