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Larry Sunderland appointed Portland Timbers youth technical director

PORTLAND, Ore. – The Portland Timbers today announced the appointment of Larry Sunderland as Timbers Youth Technical Director. Per league and club policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed. Sunderland joins the Timbers from the Chicago Fire, where he served since 2007 as academy director of player development and academy director.

Sunderland, 51, will take the lead in helping develop curriculum guidelines, monitoring Timbers Academy player and staff development, coaching and oversight of all soccer-specific aspects of the Timbers Academy and player development system.

“The Timbers Academy has to be a focal point of the club and the expectation is to develop homegrown players that can help the first team,” said Gavin Wilkinson, general manager of the Timbers. "Our club is putting a lot of emphasis on the academy and making the necessary investments to continue its growth. Hiring a quality coach with a proven track-record of success like Larry to work alongside academy sporting director Mike Smith to run the academy and youth programs is exciting and shows our level of commitment to the youth players within our homegrown territories.”

With the Fire, Sunderland also served as Technical Director of the Chicago Fire PDL side, Super-20s and Fire Juniors youth club, since 2009. Under his direction, the Fire Academy won U.S. Soccer Development Academy championships at the U-16 level (2010) and the U-18 level (2015). During his tenure, six former Fire Academy players signed with the first team as Homegrown players (Victor Pineda, Harrison Shipp, Chris Ritter, Collin Fernandez, Kellen Gulley and Patrick Doody). Sunderland also helped oversee two U-20 North American Championships (2008, 2012) and a USL PDL-record 11 players chosen in the 2012 MLS SuperDraft.

“The Portland Timbers have an unparalleled passion for excellence on and off the field and I look forward to bringing my passion for player development to the Timbers Academy and becoming a part of this championship organization,” Sunderland said. “The opportunity to work with quality people in a high performance environment is rare. Couple that with an incredible soccer environment in Portland and you have a winning mix that I am very excited to be a part of.”

Sunderland holds a USSF “A” License, USSF National “Youth” License, NSCAA Advanced National Diploma, the KNVB “Youth” Certificate and successfully completed the FFF’s Elite Formation Coaches License (equivalent to UEFA “Pro” License). He joined the USSF National Instructional Staff in 2000 and the NSCAA Associate National Staff in 2002. At the collegiate level, his coaching resume includes head coaching positions at Wisconsin Lutheran College (1994-97) and Kendall College, as well as serving as a men’s soccer assistant coach at Long Island University/CW Post College.

Sunderland’s professional playing career began in 1985 with the New York Express of the Major Indoor Soccer League (MISL). In 1986, he moved to the Milwaukee Wave of the National Professional Soccer League (NPSL). With the Chicago Power (NPSL) in 1990-91, he was part of the Power’s championship team before briefly returning to Milwaukee in 1993. Sunderland ended his playing career in 1996.

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