PORTLAND, Ore. — Portland Timbers midfielder Diego Valeri was named a co-recipient of the Harry Glickman Male Professional Athlete of the Year as part of the Oregon Sports Awards, it was announced Wednesday evening at the organization’s 66th-annual awards ceremony held in Beaverton, Ore.
With Valeri accepting the award as a co-recipient along with Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard, the recognition marked the first time that a Timbers player has been named the organization’s Harry Glickman Male Professional Athlete of the Year in the club’s MLS era. The Professional Athlete of the Year, an award named after legendary Oregon sports promoter, executive and one of the founders of the Portland Trail Blazers, Harry Glickman, is given to an outstanding male and female professional athlete with an Oregon background or who played for an Oregon-based team during the calendar year.
Valeri, who helped guide the Timbers to the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference for the second time in the club’s MLS era in 2017, was named the MLS Most Valuable Player during a record-setting campaign last season, becoming the first Timbers player to receive MLS MVP honors in club history. The four-time MLS All-Star contributed a team-high 21 goals and 11 assists during the regular season for the Timbers, ranking as the second player in MLS history to record at least 20 goals and 10 assists in the same season. With 21 goals, Valeri also set an MLS record for the most goals by a midfielder in a single season. Overall, the midfielder’s 32 combined goals and assists were tied for the fifth-most in a single season in league history.
Through a statewide voting panel consisting of TV, radio and print personalities and respected sports professionals, finalists for the Oregon Sports Awards were nominated and selected after two rounds or voting. Originally the Hayward Banquet of Champions, the Oregon Sports Awards began in 1948 to honor Oregon’s outstanding professional and amateur athletes, teams, coaches and administrators from many levels and a wide range of sports.