Portland take a look at fresh faces as 2011 winds down
PORTLAND, Ore. – A few new faces took part in training on Tuesday at JELD-WEN Field as the Portland Timbers introduced four trialists to their remaining offseason program.
Goalkeepers Samir Badr and Justin Myers, striker Alhaji Kamara and defender Kyle Altman scrimmaged and went through shooting and passing drills. They are expected to remain with Portland until they disperse for the offseason break following the MLS Cup final on Nov. 20.
“They’re just some guys who have been recommended to us, so we brought them in,” head coach John Spencer said on Wednesday. “It’s a good time of year to bring guys in and have a look at them.”
The most-recognizable name is Badr, a 19-year-old from Fairfax, Va., who signed a reserve-team contract with FC Porto in Portugal in 2009 after graduating from high school. Prior to turning professional, he spent time at the US Soccer Residency Program in Bradenton, Fla., and played for the United States U-15 and U-17 squads. He was also a member of the U-20 team that won the Milk Cup in 2010.
Myers, 26, played for the San Diego Flash of the National Premier Soccer League this season. He trained briefly with D.C. United and the Chicago Fire prior to arriving in Portland.
Altman, 24, scored three goals this year for the NASL Champion Minnesota Stars in 27 appearances. Kamara, a 17-year-old native of Sierra Leone, featured last year for FC Kallon of the Sierra Leone Premier League. He was also recently on trial with Fredrikstad FK in Norway.
So has their presence livened things up a bit?
“You want them to come in and want them to try, thus the word ‘try-list,'” Spencer quipped. “Obviously, you’d like see them come in and show a good attitude, and they’ve done that so far.”
Spencer declined to elaborate on his evaluations of the players, but he said he’s been impressed.
“People come in the first couple days and they’re on edge and they’re looking to impress in everything they do,” he said. “The longer the training goes and the longer they’re here, you start to see their level. And sometimes they get better and better and you sign them. But we’re happy with what we’ve seen so far.”
Dan Itel covers the Timbers for MLSsoccer.com. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.