Notebook: U-23s back in action

Timbers U-23s open 2011 preseason training

U-23s head coach Jim Rillat

Photo Credit: 
Craig Mitchelldyer

The Portland Timbers U-23s took their first step in defending their Premier Development League (PDL) championship from a year ago, when they stepped on the field for their first official training session at JELD-WEN Field Tuesday morning. The season’s first game is just around the corner on May 7.

As preseason opens, the training group is comprised primarily of players still trying to earn their way onto the squad. Many of the team’s collegiate players are still completing their academic obligations.

“It’s a feeling out process more than anything,” said head coach Jim Rilatt following the first day. “(Some were) star struck just being on the field for some of these guys.”

Back for Day 1 of training were a handful of familiar faces. Members of the 2010 PDL championship team and University of Portland teammates Ryan Kawulok and Ricardo Carrillo were present for the first day of practice to help get the ball rolling for the new season.

“A little sloppy the first day, but we’re going to get it sharper and we’re excited to be back under Jim again,” said Kawulok, an All-Western Conference defender in 2010. “It felt really good to be out here again with some of the guys from last year and it’s exciting to get this thing rolling again.”

Today was the first official day of training for the defending champions, who open the PDL regular season in a couple of weeks against the Victoria Highlanders at JELD-WEN Field on Saturday, May 7th.

“It was a pretty fiery practice with a lot of intensity, so it was really exciting.” Kawulok said.

Notes:

  • Today’s session included 14 players – 12 field players and two goalkeepers.
  • Training activities included possession drills, ball work, and a short-sided game.
  • The team’s 2011 roster will be announced in the coming days.