PORTLAND, Ore. — The Portland Timbers today announced that goalkeeper Jake Gleeson has been called up by the New Zealand U-23 National Team for the upcoming Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) Olympic qualifying tournament in Taupo, New Zealand, from March 16-24.
Gleeson, 21, has been named to New Zealand’s 20-man squad for the qualifying tournament, which will decide OFC’s sole berth in the 2012 Olympics in London. Gleeson departs Tuesday for New Zealand and, while on national team duty, will miss the Timbers’ road matches against FC Dallas on Saturday and New England on March 24.
The New Zealand U-23 National Team will compete in Group B of the OFC Olympic qualifying tournament, facing Papua New Guinea on Friday and Tonga on Tuesday, March 20. Group A consists of American Samoa, Fiji, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu. The top two teams from each group advance to the semifinals. The tournament final will be held Saturday, March 24. All matches in the OFC Olympic qualifying tournament will be held at Owen Delany Park in Taupo.
Gleeson has one cap with the senior New Zealand National Team, earning his first call-up last year and making an appearance against Australia in a friendly June 5, 2011. Previously, Gleeson has represented New Zealand at the U-17 and U-20 levels and led the Young All-Whites (U-17) to the OFC championship and an appearance in the FIFA U-17 World Cup in 2007.
A native of Wellington, New Zealand, Gleeson enters his second season with the MLS Timbers in 2012. He made four league appearances as a rookie during the club’s inaugural MLS season in 2011, posting a 2-0-1 record. Before joining the Timbers, Gleeson was a member of Portland’s development team, the Timbers U-23s, helping lead the club to the Premier Development League championship in 2010.