Rose City Road Trip Recap | Aug 17, 2015

The River City Saloon - 7:00 PM

The final stop on the day's journey.

The staff have all traveled to River City Saloon in Hood River for a special meet and greet and Q&A event with the players.

As the players took their places on the stage, the crowd of Timbers fans began gathering at tables just beneath them,

Soon the questions began pouring in. How old were you when you knew you were a great player? How do you incorporate a new player into the team? What was the hardest team you've ever played against?

But the players also weighed in on their experiences in Hood River.

“The view is special,” said Diego Chara. “I think later I will come back with my family to know a little bit more about the town. I liked it.”

“It's so beautiful here,” said Steph Catley. “I'll think I'll definitely need to come back and make the trip. Spend some more time adventuring and get down to the water and sit down and admire it for awhile.”

“It's a beautiful little city,” reflected Gleeson. “Everyone's been really friendly here.”

“We went up with the kids. It was a beautiful view of the river,” said Jorge Villafaña. “It's a beautiful town and I'll definitely come back again.”

The inaugural Rose City Road Trip went off without a hitch, but not before leaving the normally energetic players utterly exhausted.

“That was a long day, huh?” asked Villafaña.

“I'm going to go home, take a shower, then go to sleep,” he said.

Westside Elementary School - 3:00 PM

A young boy in a red Timbers jersey walks right up to Diego Chara and Jorge Villafaña, his hand outstretched like that of an eager businessman.

“Can I shake your hand?” he asks each player.

This afternoon, the group headed to Westside Elementary School in Hood River to conduct an hour-long soccer clinic for nearly 80 kids ranging in age from five to 13.

At one point during the clinic, Timbers defender Alvas Powell ran back-and-forth from one short 1v1 game to another, dribbling past one kid before setting up another for a goal.

But after spending well over an hour under the hot afternoon sun, the kids headed back under the shade to line up for autographs.

At the end of the session, Diego Chara and Steph Catley walked back to the bus utterly exhausted.

“Maybe we should start [the day] with the kids first,” Catley suggested.

Wy'East Elementary School – 11:30 AM

Soccer players are known for their skill with their feet, but at Wy'East Middle School in Odell, the Timbers and Thorns players got the chance to show off some skills with their hands.

At Wy'East, players and staff both got their hands dirty, digging up weeds in the school's garden as part of the SPROUTS program. Timbers fullbacks Villafaña and Powell even showed off some considerable skills with shovel and garden hoe.

Goalkeeper Jake Gleeson, who worked almost non-stop in the garden, digging up weeds and spreading tan bark, told that he was proud of his sweaty appearance.

“They say it's good for you,” he joked.

SPROUTS program director Peg Wooten, who has been working with local eighth graders in the area for 24 years, explained that at Wy'East, students are taught about seed planting, vermiculture, and birding. During the summer, the food grown in Wy'East's garden goes to food banks in Odell and Hood River, while during the school year, the food goes to the school cafeteria.

The crew finished their work by pulling plastic sheeting over the garden's newly built greenhouse. As the project came together, players and staff alike stood back to admire their handiwork.

Local artist Allison Fox even created a special mural, depicting a scene of soccer and songbirds, on the greenhouse door. Several players, including Timbers “resident artist” Diego Chara and Thorns FC defender Steph Catley, picked up paintbrushes and began applying the color to Fox's beautiful mural.

But despite coming close to completing the painting, Catley wasn't ready to let go of all her hard work.

“It's not finished,” she explained. “I can't leave!”

Providence Hood River Hospital – 10:15 AM

Doctor Ed Freysinger, Chief Exceuctive of Providence Hospitals Gorge Services Area, rallied the staffs of both the Timbers and Providence Hood River Hospital ahead of the big visit.

“We have a lot of similarities,” Freysinger told everyone. “We are both team sports.” Freysinger explained how hospital staffs must work together as a team to help manage their pateints' care and work towards doing zero harm. 

He told the players that their visits help teach the young kids just what it means to be a part of a team.

As Jorge Villafaña visited patients in dialysis care and Jake Gleeson and Steph Catley visited patients in surgery, Alvas Powell, Diego Chara, and Timber Joey went upstairs to visit general care patients in their rooms.

After swapping stories and giving away some signed soccer balls, Powell, Chara, and Joey took some photos with the patients. One of those patients, happy to have some visitors, may have had an even bigger smile on her face than Diego Chara did on his.

When Timber Joey peaked in on one elderly visitor, she was thrilled. “Well, this is the first time a nice looking young man's come to visit me!” she told him.

Even the doctors were more than a little starstruck. One doctor, a Timbers season ticket holder, ran over to Diego Chara with his hand outstretched. “My favorite player,” he said as he shook the Colombian's hand.

But when Diego Chara stepped aside so that the doctor could meet Alvas Powell, the doctor looked stunned.

“Wow, I'm speechless,” he said.

“You're never speechless!” his resident quipped.

Providence Park – 8:30 AM

Here we all are, waiting for the bus that's taking us to Hood River as part of the inaugural Rose City Road Trip, presented by Providence Health & Services.

In a little over an hour, we'll arrive at Providence Hood River Hospital, where Portland Timbers players Diego Chara, Jorge Villafaña, Jake Gleeson, and Alvas Powell, along with Thorns FC defender Steph Catley and Timber Joey, will spend some time getting to know the patients.

Next, we'll be off to Wy'East Middle School for a community event in collaboration with the SPROUTS program. SPROUTS is an after school horticulture program where kids start all plants from seeds, grow vegetable starts, harvest vegetables and cultivate flowers. If you've ever wanted to see some of your favorite players handling a shovel, stay tuned throughout the day for updates.

After dusting ourselves off from working in the garden, we'll head over to Westside Elementary School, where the Timbers' youth academy staff will lead a free clinic for children ages 5-13. So not only will some of these kids get the chance to meet a Timbers player, but they will also get the chance to play with him.

Finally, we'll be closing out the long day at the River City Saloon, where fans will get the chance to interact with players, pose for photos, and get autographs from 6-8 PM.

Throughout the day, we here at will update you on all of the day's events, posting thoughts and sharing pictures in real time. We're looking forward to having you along for the ride.