Notebook: U-23s' Dugoni makes his way to Norway

PORTLAND, Ore. – On the tails of a successful season in the Premier Development League this summer, Portland Timbers U-23s defender Graham Dugoni recently signed with Mjøndalen IF in Norway. He was signed after a short trial with the club in late August.

While many players from the Timbers U-23s PDL championship squad have returned to their respective colleges, Dugoni’s offseason began by training with the Timbers first team and then a trial in Norway before signing his first professional contract with Mjøndalen.

“Playing for the U-23s was really the perfect lead up to signing a professional contract,” said Dugoni. “Training hard with good players every day in a professional environment with the Timbers was a great way to focus on my game and prepare myself for the pro level.

“I'm thankful to Jim Rilatt and the entire Timbers coaching staff for giving me the opportunity to play with such a successful team this past season and look forward to seeing the U-23s continue to provide opportunities for young players looking to play professionally.”

Meanwhile, Timbers U-23s standout goalkeeper Jake Gleeson and midfielder Freddie Braun have also been invited to train with the Timbers first team by head coach Gavin Wilkinson for the remainder of the 2010 campaign. Both Gleeson and Braun played a significant role in leading the Timbers U-23s to their first league title in just their second season of existence.

Many of the team’s younger players have spent the first month of the PDL offseason preparing for the start of the 2010 NCAA season.

Several players stayed right here in the Rose City and have the University of Portland Pilots entering the campaign ranked No. 19 in the nation and looking for a return trip to the NCAA tournament this fall. A part of the Pilots squad are defender Ryan Kawulok (Jr.), forward Ricardo Carrillo (So.), midfielders Michael Nielsen (Jr.), Steven Evans (Fr.) and senior Jarad vanSchaik.

A crop of players from the Timbers U-23s’ championship squad have Oregon State University off to a good start with a 2-0 victory in their 2010 season opener. Goalkeeper Steve Spangler (Jr.), who was the backup for the Timbers development team this summer, recorded the shutout victory. Other U-23s on the Beavers are defenders Taylor Thompson (So.) and Chris Harms (Jr.), midfielder Roberto Farfan (So.) and senior forward Brian Ramsey.

In town last weekend at the Univ. of Portland’s Nike Invitational, were Timbers U-23s forwards Brent Richards (Jr.), who’s the reigning PDL MVP, and Quinton Beasley (So.) with the University of Washington men’s soccer team. Richards, who has led the Huskies in scoring in each of his first two collegiate seasons, is poised to lead UW back to the PAC-10 elite.

Elsewhere around the country, Timbers U-23s defender Brock Granger (So.) begins his first season at Louisville after transferring over the summer. Forward Ricky Abrego (Jr.) is set to start his junior season at UNLV in early Sept. with the UNLV Nike Invitational. Midfielder Ricky Dorrego returned to San Jose State University for his senior season and has already earned an assist as the Spartan are off to a 2-0 start. Over the summer, defender Matt Drake transferred from Oregon State to West Virginia University. He scored his first goal as a Mountaineer in a 3-2 win over No. 17 UNC Wilmington – the team’s first win of the season.