Twenty-five years ago on April 6, 1996, Major League Soccer made its debut with their first-ever match: San Jose Clash vs. D.C. United.
While current Timbers head coach Giovanni Savarese and assistant coach Miles Joseph were teammates on the New York/New Jersey MetroStars in that inaugural season, we spoke with some other Timbers players and coaches about what their first-ever memory of MLS was to them.
For goalkeeper Jeff Attinella, his family became season ticket holders for the Tampa Bay Mutiny – a team highlighted by the world-class Carlos Valderfama and his iconic hair in midfield – that cemented his love of soccer:
"If it wasn’t for them, I don’t know if I would’ve gotten into soccer."@Jeff_Attinella1 grew up a Tampa Bay Mutiny diehard, cheering for Carlos Valderrama and run-up shootouts. #MLSin96 pic.twitter.com/4EbRcQg6s7— Portland Timbers (@TimbersFC) April 6, 2020
Defender Jorge Villafaña was seven years old when the league began but he grew up watching MLS stars such as Jorge Campos and others. The league gave him an outlet for his dream:
Timbers assistant coach Carlos Llamosa didn't sign with an MLS club, D.C. United, until 1997 but the league had a huge impact on his development: