Timbers U-23s announce roster additions for 2013 season

Team adds newcomers in Barnes, Blanchette, Greer, Nitti

U-23s Greer-Blanchette-Nitti

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Portland Timbers U-23s

PORTLAND, Ore. – The Portland Timbers U-23s today announced the addition of four more players to their roster for the upcoming Premier Development League (PDL) season. Joining the team for 2013 are midfielder Zach Barnes, goalkeeper Paul Blanchette and defenders JJ Greer and Craig Nitti.

Barnes (Flower Mound, Texas) joins the Timbers U-23s after playing in all 24 matches last season for Creighton, including an appearance in the 2012 NCAA College Cup semifinal against Indiana. Prior to joining Creighton, Barnes played in 37 games over two seasons at Southern Methodist University, tallying six goals and two assists. His play as a freshman earned him Conference USA All-Freshman Team and Soccer America All-Freshman second-team honors in 2010. Barnes was a member of U.S. U-17 National Team in 2008 and also played with the U.S. U-20 squad in a friendly against Japan on April 3, 2010.

Blanchette (Palo Alto, Calif.) was the first-choice goalkeeper for Loyola Marymount last season as a freshman, playing in 17 games (16 starts). He was named to the West Coast Conference All-Freshman Team, leading the conference with 78 saves and registering the second-highest save percentage in the conference (.796). He recorded his first career clean sheet in a scoreless, double-overtime draw against Santa Clara on Nov. 9. Blanchette was one of five Lions players awarded WCC honorable mention in 2012.

Greer (Memphis, Tenn.) was limited to three starts as a senior in 2012 due to an early season injury. He was a C-USA All-Conference second-team honoree as a junior in 2011, anchoring Memphis’ backline and helping the Tigers record six shutouts that season. A versatile player, Greer was selected to the C-USA All-Freshman team in 2009 after recording a goal and five assists as a forward during his first collegiate season. In total, Greer played in 54 games and recorded three goals and eight assists during his time at Memphis. He was set to join the Timbers U-23s last season, but an injury sustained in the spring did not allow him to play during the 2012 PDL season.

Nitti (Calabasas, Calif.) was a regular on the Loyola Marymount backline in 2012, starting 17 of the team’s 19 games and logging 1,593 minutes – second-most on the team. He found the back of the net three times, including an 89th-minute equalizer in the season-opener against fourth-ranked UC Santa Barbara. Nitti also scored the game-winner in second-half stoppage time of a 2-1 win over Stanford. Nitti was all-conference honorable mention and named to the WCC All-Academic Team last season. In three seasons with the Lions, Nitti has played in 37 games (26 starts), registering four goals and two assists.

With today’s transactions, the Timbers U-23s have 12 players on their 2013 roster.

The Timbers U-23s play host to the Sacramento Gold of the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL) in the first round of the 2013 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup on Tuesday, May 14, at JELD-WEN Field; kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. (Pacific). Tickets, priced at $10, are available for purchase through the JELD-WEN Field box office and online at www.portlandtimbers.com.