Portland Timbers U-23s announce 2014 season-opening roster

Head coach Jim Rilatt to lead talented roster, including four returning players

Fatai Alashe, Jose Ribas, U-23s

Photo Credit: 
(Timbers.com)

PORTLAND, Ore. – The Portland Timbers U-23s today announced their season-opening roster for the 2014 United Soccer Leagues’ Premier Development League (PDL) campaign. Of the 24 players announced, 20 are newcomers to the Timbers U-23s program.

The Timbers U-23s open play against Arizona United SC in the second round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup on Tuesday at Providence Park; kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. (Pacific). Tickets, priced at $10, are available at www.timbers.com or at the Providence Park box office. The Timbers U-23s open the 2014 PDL regular-season schedule on Thursday, May 15, as they play host to Vancouver Whitecaps FC U-23s as part of a Providence Health & Fitness Day at Providence Park; kickoff is set for 11 a.m. (Pacific).

Under the guidance of head coach Jim Rilatt, the Timbers U-23s have added players representing 17 different colleges, including three each from University of North Carolina and Virginia Commonwealth University. The University of Akron, Creighton University and the University of Louisville are each represented by two players.

Returning to the Timbers U-23s for the 2014 season are defender Evyn Hewett (San Diego State), forward Reed McKenna (UC-Santa Barbara), midfielder Jose Ribas (Creighton University) and midfielder Will Seymore (Oregon State University). New additions to the squad include Miguel Aguilar (University of San Francisco), Fatai Alashe (Michigan State University), Kharlton Belmar (Virginia Commonwealth University), Dennis Castillo (Virginia Commonwealth University), Louis Cross (University of Akron), Kenny Cunningham (Ohio State University), Earl Edwards (UCLA), Devon Fisher (Virginia Commonwealth University), Kyle Fisher (Clemson), Sam Gainford (Akron), Zach Hamer (Gonzaga University), Jacori Hayes (Wake Forest University), Omar Holness (University of North Carolina, Justin Luthy (Boston College), Jordan McCrary (North Carolina), Brendan Moore (North Carolina), Nolan Moore (University of Louisville), Matt Rose (Point Loma Nazarene), Lucas Stauffer (Creighton University) and Ben Strong (Louisville).

Miguel Aguilar (Sacramento, Calif.) has recorded 11 goals in 53 career appearances for the University of San Francisco during three seasons. A three-time All-West Coast Conference second-team selection, Aguilar was co-leading scorer for the Dons in 2013 with three goals.

Fatai Alashe (Northville, Mich.) played his junior season at Michigan State University last fall and has appeared in 63 career matches for the Spartans, tallying six goals and six assists. In 2013, Alashe was named to the Big Ten All-Tournament team after helping Michigan State earn a berth in the NCAA tournament and was named the TopDrawerSoccer.com National Player of the Week on Oct. 1, 2013. As a sophomore in 2012, Alashe helped lead the Spartans to the Big Ten championship, assisting the winning goal in overtime.

Kharlton Belmar (Virginia Beach, Va.) finished his junior season at Virginia Commonwealth University as the team’s leading goal-scorer with eight goals, including three game-winners. An All-Atlantic 10 Conference first team selection and an All-Mid Atlantic Region second-team pick in 2013, Belmar has registered 14 goals and five assists in 55 career appearances for the Rams.

Dennis Castillo (San Jose, Costa Rica) was named an NSCAA All-Mid Atlantic Region first-team selection as a sophomore in 2013 and has registered 12 goals in 39 career appearances as a defender for the Rams. In 2012, Castillo earned All-Atlantic 10 second-team honors.

Louis Cross (Lancashire, England) was a key contributor to one of the better defensive units in the country in 2013 as a freshman at the University of Akron. A former member of the Blackpool FC academy in England, Cross made 17 appearances (13 starts) during his freshman season for the Zips.

Kenny Cunningham (Brecksville, Ohio) has scored six goals in 50 career matches across three seasons at Ohio State University. The 6-foot-2 forward earned Big Ten All-Freshman team honors in 2011 after registering two goals and two assists in 15 appearances. As a junior in 2013, Cunningham attempted 22 shots, ranking second among all Buckeyes players.

Earl Edwards (San Diego, Calif.) earned first-team All Pac-12 Conference honors as a junior, starting all 20 matches at goalkeeper for UCLA, making 73 saves and logging a 1.13 goals-against average while helping lead the Bruins to the third round of the NCAA tournament in 2013. Edwards posted seven shutouts to take his career tally to 11 and has compiled a 23-7-7 overall record in three seasons. He served as team captain for back-to-back seasons in 2012 and 2013.

Devon Fisher (Chesapeake, Va.) tallied three goals and one assist in 21 games as a sophomore in 2013, earning NSCAA All Mid-Atlantic Region third team honors for Virginia Commonwealth University. Following a redshirt season in 2011, Fisher tied for second among Rams players with six goals during the 2012 season.

Kyle Fisher (Easley, S.C.) started all 21 games for Clemson University during his sophomore season in 2013. A defender, Fisher helped the Tigers register eight shutouts, while also scoring two game-winning goals. Fisher has appeared in all 41 matches for the team since 2012, earning All-Atlantic Coast Conference third-team honors last season.

Sam Gainford (Whitehaven, England) was a member of the Liverpool Academy program before enrolling at the University of Akron in 2013. A member of the Liverpool Academy since he was 10-years-old, Gainford featured for the club’s U-18 side as well as the Liverpool U-21 side in several NextGen Series matches.

Zach Hamer (Spokane, Wash.) joins the Timbers U-23s after recording one goal and two assists in 19 matches for Gonzaga University as a junior in 2013. Hamer, who earned West Coast Conference All-Academic honors in 2012, has scored four goals in 56 career matches for the Bulldogs.

Jacori Hayes (Bowie, Md.) joins the Timbers U-23 after his rookie season at Wake Forest University. Hayes scored one goal and tallied one assist in 18 matches as a midfielder for the Demon Deacons, earning Atlantic Coast Conference All-Freshman team honors. At the youth national team level, Hayes earned playing time with the U.S. U-18 National Team in 2012 and 2013.

Evyn Hewett (La Palma, Calif.) returns to the Timbers U-23s for a third consecutive season after playing his junior collegiate season with San Diego State University. Hewett has made 25 regular-season PDL appearances for the Timbers U-23s since 2012 and has played in 49 matches for the Aztecs in three seasons, recording two goals and five assists.

Omar Holness (Kingston, Jamaica) appeared in all 20 matches, recording two goals and three assists for the University of North Carolina during his freshman season in 2013. Holness has gained extensive youth national team experience with Jamaica. A member of the Jamaica U-17 National Team squad that qualified for the 2011 FIFA U-17 World Cup, Holness captained the side in group-stage matches against Japan, Argentina and France. In 2013, Holness was named to Jamaica’s roster for the CONCACAF U-20 Championship, scoring a goal in a 4-1 win over Puerto Rico in the opening group-stage match on Feb. 19, 2013, in Puebla, Mexico.

Justin Luthy (Dublin, Ohio) graduated from Boston College in 2013 after concluding his collegiate career with 80 appearances in goal for the Eagles. Luthy finished his time at Boston College as the program’s all-time career leader in wins (43) and minutes played (7,400), while ranking second all-time in shutouts (25), fourth in saves (301) and logging a 43-25-11 career record and a 1.06 goals-against average.

Jordan McCrary (Marietta, Ga.) featured in 19 matches the University of North Carolina, aiding a defense that ranked sixth in the nation with a 0.61 goals-against average, allowing just 13 goals in 20 games and logging 10 shutouts. Representing the United States at the U-17 level, McCrary was called into the U.S. U-20 Men’s National Team in 2012.

Reed McKenna (San Diego, Calif.) returns to the Timbers U-23s for a second straight season in 2014. Playing his first two college seasons at UCLA, McKenna joined UC-Santa Barbara in 2013 and appeared in 20 matches (6 starts) while recording one goal and one assist.

Brendan Moore (Atlanta) played his junior season at the University of North Carolina last fall and recorded 10 shutouts in 20 matches for the Tar Heels. Starting every match of the season as the team’s first-choice goalkeeper, Moore stopped 54 shots while helping lead UNC to the second round of the NCAA tournament.

Nolan Moore (New Westminster, B.C.) joined the University of Louisville in 2013 after two season with Cal Poly. Moore recorded two goals in 18 matches for the Cardinals, helping the team reach the second round of the NCAA tournament. Moore made 27 appearances in two years at Cal Poly.

Jose Ribas (Guayaquil, Ecuador) returns to the Timbers U-23s after playing his junior season at Creighton University in 2013. Ribas started 19 matches for the Bluejays, recording a team-high six assists while earning All-BIG EAST second-team honors. Ribas appeared in 14 games for the Timbers U-23s during the 2013 PDL season, tallying one goal.

Matt Rose (High Point, N.C.) will play the 2014 college season at Point Loma Nazarene University after transferring from the University of North Carolina, where he was a member of the men’s soccer team for three years. Rose appeared in 19 matches (17) starts as a freshman in 2009 for the Tar Heels. He redshirted the 2010 season.

Will Seymore (Soham, England) returns to the Timbers U-23s for a third season in 2014 following his junior season at Oregon State University. Seymore finished third on Beavers with six points (2g, 2a), while appearing in all 19 matches for Oregon State in 2013.

Lucas Stauffer (Owensboro, Ky.) is committed to play collegiately at Creighton for the 2014 season after playing for Danish club Vejle Boldklub’s Under-19 side in Denmark. Stauffer has been a member of the U.S. National Futsal Team since 2011 and was a member of the team’s roster for the 2012 CONCACAF Futsal Championship.

Midfielder Ben Strong (Mendham, N.J.) played two years at Virginia Tech before transferring to Louisville, where he didn’t play during 2013 season. Strong started 39 games during two seasons with Virginia Tech, recording two goals and three assists. He led all field players in minutes played (1,770) during his freshman year in 2011, earning Rookie of the Year honors for the Hokies.

2014 Portland Timbers U-23s Roster

Name

Position

Hometown

College

Aguilar, Miguel

Forward

Sacramento, Calif.

University of San Francisco

Alashe, Fatai

Midfielder

Northville, Mich.

Michigan State University

Belmar, Kharlton

Forward

Virginia Beach, Va.

Virginia Commonwealth Univ.

Castillo, Dennis

Defender

San Jose, Costa Rica

Virginia Commonwealth Univ.

Cross, Louis

Defender

Lancashire, England

University of Akron

Cunningham, Kenny

Forward

Brecksville, Ohio

Ohio State University

Edwards, Earl

Goalkeeper

San Diego, Calif.

UCLA

Fisher, Devon

Midfielder

Chesapeake, Va.

Virginia Commonwealth Univ.

Fisher, Kyle

Defender

Easley, S.C.

Clemson University

Gainford, Sam

Forward

Whitehaven, England

University of Akron

Hamer, Zach

Midfielder

Spokane, Wash.

Gonzaga University

Hayes, Jacori

Midfielder

Bowie, Md.

Wake Forest University

Hewett, Evyn

Defender

La Palma, Calif.

San Diego State Univ.

Holness, Omar

Midfielder

Kingston, Jamaica

Univ. of North Carolina

Luthy, Justin

Goalkeeper

Dublin, Ohio

Boston College

McCrary, Jordan

Mid/Def

Marietta, Ga.

Univ. of North Carolina

McKenna, Reed

Forward

San Diego, Calif.

UC-Santa Barbara

Moore, Brendan

Goalkeeper

Atlanta, Ga.

Univ. of North Carolina

Moore, Nolan

Midfielder

New Westminster, B.C.

University of Louisville

Ribas, Jose

Midfielder

Guayaquil, Ecuador

Creighton University

Rose, Matt

Fwd/Mid

High Point, N.C.

Point Loma Nazarene

Seymore, Will

Midfielder

Soham, England

Oregon State University

Stauffer, Lucas

Midfielder

Owensboro, Ky.

Creighton University

Strong, Ben

Midfielder

Mendham, N.J.

University of Louisville

ABOUT TIMBERS U-23s
The Portland Timbers U-23s are an amateur team affiliated with the Portland Timbers of Major League Soccer and serves as a development platform for the club's first team. The team consists of standout players from collegiate and youth programs from Oregon, the Northwest and throughout the country, and competes in United Soccer Leagues’ Premier Development League (PDL). Since their founding, five Timbers U-23s players have signed with the first team, including goalkeeper Jake Gleeson and Timbers Homegrown Players Steven Evans and Bryan Gallego. The Timbers U-23s assembled an historic campaign in 2010, posting a perfect 16-0-0 record during the regular season on their way to becoming the first undefeated champion in PDL history.