PORTLAND, Ore. – The Portland Timbers today announced that assistant coach Sean McAuley will depart the club to join the Orlando City SC coaching staff as an assistant under newly appointed head coach James O’Connor. The Timbers’ match against the Philadelphia Union at Providence Park on Saturday, Aug. 4, will serve as McAuley’s final game after seven seasons on the Timbers coaching staff.
“It’s been a pleasure to work for such a fantastic organization, and it’s been such a rewarding experience to be a part of this club’s growth and to have helped during transitional phases of the coaching staff and as new players have joined the club,” said McAuley. “Playing a part in winning the Timbers’ first MLS Cup was the single greatest moment of my professional career. I am very thankful to Merritt Paulson, Gavin Wilkinson, Giovanni Savarese, the supporters and all the coaches, staff and players for their dedication, professionalism and support during my seven seasons on staff. The club is in great hands, and while I look forward to joining my former Sheffield Wednesday clubmate James O’Connor on the staff of Orlando City SC, I will have nothing but fond memories of my time with the Timbers, as a coach and as a player.”
Originally joining the Timbers as an assistant coach on July 16, 2012, McAuley marked his seventh season as a first-team assistant coach with the club this season. During that stretch, McAuley was an important part of the Timbers’ coaching staff that helped the club secure its first MLS Cup (2015), a Western Conference Championship (2015) and two Cascadia Cup trophies (2012, 2017), while also helping to guide the team to two first-place finishes atop the Western Conference table at season’s end (2013, 2017) and two qualifications for the Concacaf Champions League (2014-15, 2016-17).
“Sean is a person of great character and someone who has been a true asset to our organization for many years, first as a player, and for the past seven seasons as an assistant coach,” said Gavin Wilkinson, general manager and president of soccer for the Timbers. “He joined our staff at a period of transition in 2012 and played a critical role in helping this club grow and reach new heights, ultimately helping the Timbers win their first MLS Cup. I have known Sean for the better part of two decades, and while his stewardship of players and exceptional professionalism will be missed, we are excited for Sean and his family as he embarks on his next challenge. We are thankful for his many contributions and will remember his time as a member of the Timbers family fondly.”
“In a relatively short period of time working together, I have known Sean to be an exceptional person and a great professional,” said Giovanni Savarese, head coach of the Timbers. “While we are disappointed to see him depart our staff after several years of service, we very much support his decision to move on to the next chapter of his coaching career and we all wish him the best in this next endeavor.”
A native of Sheffield, England, McAuley, 46, joined the Timbers in 2012 after previously serving as the head academy manager for English club Sheffield Wednesday (2005-2011). McAuley also served as the caretaker manager for Sheffield Wednesday’s first team on two occasions, during the 2006-07 and 2009-10 League Championship seasons.
As a player, McAuley enjoyed a 15-year career (1990-2005), including one season with the USL Timbers in 2002. Beginning his career with Manchester United in 1990, McAuley played a majority of his career for clubs in the United Kingdom, including St. Johnstone, Hartlepool United, Scunthorpe United, Rochdale and Halifax Town.
The Timbers have begun the process of identifying a new assistant coach to complete the staff following McAuley’s departure.