PORTLAND, Ore. – The Portland Timbers have signed midfielder Ricardo “Kiki” Lara to a two-year contract extension through the 2009 season, it was announced today. Lara joins several players from the Timbers 2007 squad returning for the 2008 season.
Lara played 734 minutes in 19 matches during his first season with the Timbers in 2007. Recognized for his philanthropic efforts off the pitch, Lara, 26, was honored as the Timbers’ 2007 Community Player of the Year.
“Kiki has all of the characteristics of a player that suits the type of team we want here in Portland,” said Gavin Wilkinson, Timbers head coach and general manager. “He’s a hard-working player who is also committed to making a difference in the community. We look forward to Kiki continuing to make an impact in Portland.”
With Lara, the Timbers now have nine players from the 2007 season returning for the 2008 campaign. Among those under contract for the 2008 season include 2007 USL First Division all-league selections Andrew Gregor and Cameron Knowles.
“Having the opportunity to stay in Portland and play for the Timbers organization under coach Wilkinson means a lot to me,” said Lara. “I am very excited to help pick up where we left off in 2007 and do my part to help bring a USL championship to the fans in Portland.”
From Las Cruses, N.M., Lara began his professional career in 2004 with the Minnesota Thunder of the USL First Division. In three seasons with Minnesota, Lara appeared in 47 matches, played 2,351 minutes and recorded three goals and eight assists. In 2006, Lara shared the team lead with four assists and was named the Thunder’s Humanitarian of the Year.
Timbers season tickets and various ticket packages, starting as low as $142.50, are currently available for the 2008 season. The first 100 fans who purchase 2008 season tickets before December 1 receive a wood slab of Timber Jim’s famous pole at PGE Park signed by Timbers players. Click here for more information or call the Timbers ticket office at (503) 553-5555.