Jewsbury embracing role as Timbers captain
BEAVERTON, Ore. – When Jack Jewsbury found out that he’d been traded to the Portland Timbers from the only team he’d ever known in MLS, the eight-year veteran was caught off guard. But he wasn't shocked.
“I wouldn’t say it was expected, but I wasn’t totally surprised,” said the former Kansas City midfielder after the Timbers final practice before jetting off to Colorado for their MLS debut against the Rapids on Saturday.
So does Jewsbury now feel like he has something to prove with his new club?
“Yeah, maybe, but not so much for anyone else but for myself," he said. "I’m pretty tough on myself and I try to be as honest as I can about my performances, and that was kind of the deal in Kansas City. I really did think I should’ve been in the starting XI game in and game out.”
But any sting that might have been felt from the move out west was taken away when he was named captain just a little more than a week upon his arrival in Portland. For coach John Spencer, Jewsbury’s leadership qualities made him an acquisition worth waiting for.
“We chased him for a good two months,” said Spencer. “If we could have done a deal to get him pre-Expansion Draft, we’d have done it in a heartbeat. To me, he’s just a natural-born leader with a lot of experience in MLS and just a player I’ve admired for a number of years from afar.”
For all of that admiration, however, Spencer doesn’t intend for Jewsbury to act strictly as a mentor to his young squad.
“I don’t want guys coaching, I want guys playing,” said the former Rapids captain. "[Jewsbury is] just a good leader that’s got a level head about him and I’m just delighted to get him here finally.”
As for Jewsbury, he’s embracing the armband, something that surely helps heal any wound caused by his unexpected exit from Kansas City.
“That was part of the deal when I came here," explained Jewsbury. "Coach Spencer told me, 'We’re bringing you in here not only for your experience but also for your leadership. There’s a good group of young guys here, talented young guys, and I think it was very important to have someone in the middle of the field that has been around the league and has played some games.'
"I’m definitely trying to embrace that role.”