Timbers Dads: Busy both on and off the field
Not every professional soccer player spends his down time shuttling between the gym, charity gigs and nightclubs. Substitute diapers and rainy days at OMSI and you’ve got the lot of the typical Timbers dad.
Goalkeeper Troy Perkins is father to Jackson Gregory Perkins, aged two years and four months.
“I try to do a lot of the routine, because I love being around my kid,” says Perkins. “This morning I was getting ready to leave for training and he comes around the corner and says ‘Papa work?’ After training, I go home, eat lunch and spend the rest of the day with him and let my wife relax.”
Perkins and his wife live in suburban West Linn. There there are ample open spaces for he and Jackson to walk the dog. “Our neighborhood is a bunch of empty lots right now, so we go out exploring.”
Perkins comes from a long line of blue collar workers: farmers and builders. He himself grew up on a farm and treasures his dad’s influence.
“In the sports environment I don’t think my dad had much to do with my career. But his work ethic and mentality, and that passion for what you do, are what I carry on.”
Midfielder Diego Chara has two brothers who are also pro-soccer players. So their father, Jesus, who played in Colombia’s second division, must have been doing something right. These days Jesus is retired and relaxes at home.
“I have a very good relationship with my father. We speak to each other almost every day,” Chara said recently through an interpreter. “My father watches all the games on DirecTV.”
Back home in Colombia, Chara has a daughter Mariajose Chara Lenis who is about to turn two. He and his wife have another child on the way due in October and he communicates with them by Skype video calls.
“The time difference is only two hours so I can see my daughter playing during the day.”
His hopes for her are pure and simple: “I have many wishes for her to be the best person she can be, in whatever sports, in studies, in anything.”
Newest member of the Dad’s club is Ryan Pore. The Portland forward’s wife Ashley gave birth to Luca Eugene Pore on June 2, 2011. Luca was 9lb 1oz, 21 ¼ inches. Right now the new father is only sleeping for two or three hour intervals and then getting up helping the wife breastfeed and change diapers.
“Luca’s healthy, he’s an eating machine, we’re happy he’s here,” the 27 year-old says proudly.
Even on game days Pore’s been getting up at 1:30 a.m., but he sleeps through the 5:30 a.m. feeding shift and gets to sleep in. (Pore’s mother-in-law is currently staying, although she is excused night time duty.)
The new dad feels lucky the Timbers have been playing at home recently, allowing him to focus on both jobs.
And his hopes for his child?
“I just hope he has a healthy, positive life. We can steer him in the right direction but ultimately it’s his decisions, and we’ll support him,” said Pore. “It’s awesome to have somebody to be able to look after for the next 18 years.
His father got him into soccer, realizing at 13 that his son needed a higher level of coaching.
“He drove me up to Cleveland every night for practice, a two-hour round-trip.” Pore’s Dad no longer gives his lad footballing tips, but he’s still involved. “Ohio is three hours behind us so he always stays up late watching the games. And if we’re within 10 hours of driving from Ohio, he’ll be there.”
Captain Jack Jewsbury is actually Jack Jewsbury III. His father, Jack II, is another inspirational soccer dad.
“His influence on me has been huge,” Jewsbury says. “He was an offensive lineman in college and was new to soccer when I grew up. The more I got into it the more he got into it.”
Jewsbury’s parents would drive him three hours from Springfield to St Louis for training on weekends, a six hour round trip. And they missed only 10 games in the 8 years he played for Kansas City. (Of course, they will be in town this Father’s Day weekend for the Red Bulls game.)
And yes, they watch the Timbers on TV. “They buy the package!” His dad watches obscure games and calls him up to talk about them. When he became Timbers captain his father gave him advice on leadership gained from his years in management at UPS. “He helped me realize there’s going to be up’s and down’s, and to stay on an even keel.”
Jewsbury and his wife have one daughter, Aubrey Lynn Jewsbury, who turned two on May 5. He says he feels blessed that his wife, who taught third grade, can stay home with her. As a family they’ve hit lot of parks around their Multnomah Village home and are regulars at the Oregon Zoo.
“I try to be as hands on as I can. The beauty of our profession, we’re home a little bit earlier than other dads are, and that’s something I cherish.”