Gavin Wilkinson, a 16-year veteran of the Timbers organization and a former New Zealand international, serves as the club’s GM/President of Soccer. He first joined the club as a player for the Timbers’ USL First Division side in 2001, before taking over as the head coach and general manager during the club’s final years in the second division from 2007-10.
As GM/president of soccer, Wilkinson has formed the Timbers’ deeply integrated, vertical development system, which includes United Soccer Leagues club Portland Timbers 2 (T2), the Portland Timbers U-23s and Timbers Academy teams (U-18, U-16 and U-14). He was instrumental in establishing an innovative partnership with Oregon Youth Soccer Association, which encompasses the statewide Olympic Development Program and regional training centers, as well as the adidas Timbers Alliance program. Wilkinson also serves as the general manager for Portland Thorns FC, the 2013 National Women’s Soccer League champions. During his tenure as general manager, the club has won MLS Cup in 2015, an NWSL championship with Thorns FC in 2013 and a national championship with the Timbers U-23s in 2010.
During his tenure as the club’s general manager and head coach from 2007-10, Wilkinson assembled a 50-29-39 record over four seasons in the USL First Division/USSF Division-2 Pro League and was a two-time USL First Division Coach of the Year (2007, 2009). He guided the club to three postseason berths, including its only semifinals appearances as a second-division club in 2007 and 2009. As head coach, Wilkinson oversaw Cascadia Cup (a fan-based derby between Portland, Seattle and Vancouver) titles in 2009, 2010 and again in 2012, and was a two-time recipient of the FieldTurf Coach of the Year for the USL First Division (2007, 2009).
He led the Timbers to one of the best seasons in USL First Division history in 2009, including a record-setting, 24-game unbeaten streak and winning the Commissioner’s Cup. The Timbers set a new single-season, league record with the impressive streak (14-0-10), surpassing the previous mark of 15 games set in 2005. The club’s record-setting run also ranks among the longest in U.S. Soccer history. Finishing in first place at 16-4-10 (58pts), Portland was awarded the Commissioner’s Cup as the league’s regular-season champion and earned a berth into the USL First Division semifinals.
Wilkinson’s 13-year professional playing career included time with clubs in six different countries, including Portugal, Ireland, Hong Kong, Singapore and Australia. A defender, he joined the reborn Timbers for their inaugural United Soccer Leagues season in 2001, playing in each of the club’s first six seasons and serving the dual role as a player/assistant coach from 2005-06. He finished his playing career ranked among the Timbers’ USL franchise career leaders in games (124) and minutes played (10,181).
A New Zealand native, Wilkinson earned 38 caps with the New Zealand National Team and competed in the 1999 and 2003 FIFA Confederations Cups.
Wilkinson, who holds an “A” coaching license from U.S. Soccer, founded the youth club Eastside United, based in Gresham, Ore., in 2001. He helped run the club as its coaching director for many years and now serves as an advisor for the club. In 2010, Eastside United FC’s U-18 boys team (’91 Liverpool) won the U.S. Youth Soccer U-18 national championship and became the first youth club team from Oregon to win a national title since 1994.
He and his wife, Heather, have two children, Kienan (12) and Brooke (9).