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Former Timbers great Jorge Villafaña announces retirement

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Former Portland Timbers defender Jorge Villafaña announced his retirement yesterday.

Making his announcement on Instagram, Villafaña said, “After 15 years of playing soccer at the highest level, I have decided to retire from the sport that has given me so much joy and fulfillment.

“I will never forget the day I made my debut, or the day I lifted my first trophy.”

Villafaña, 34, played five seasons for the Timbers across two different stints (2014-2015, 2018-2020) appearing in 116 regular season and postseason matches (108 starts). The U.S international was a key part of the team’s 2015 MLS Cup-winning side as well as their 2020 MLS is Back Tournament triumph, starting and playing the full 90 in each final. He was also part of the team’s 2018 MLS Western Conference Championship winning squad and also started in the 2018 MLS Cup.

An Anaheim, Calif. native who spent his early childhood in Mexico, Villafaña's professional career started via a unique path with Chivas USA in 2007. Then known as Jorge Flores, Villafaña beat out over 2,000 competitors to win a special reality TV show, Sueño MLS, that led to a tryout with Major League Soccer. His pathway to being a pro earned him the nickname, “Sueño,” which stayed with him throughout his career.

In 2011, the defender changed his last name to honor his mother’s maiden name, Villafaña, who had raised him on her own. After playing seven seasons with The Goats, Villafaña arrived in Portland via a trade ahead of the 2014 season after which he was quickly inserted as the team's starting left back. Villafaña blossomed in the Rose City, scoring three regular-season goals and contributing 18 regular-season assists for Portland over the course of five seasons, hitting career highs in assists in 2015, 2019 and 2020 (5a).

Moving abroad in 2015, Villafaña was transferred to Liga MX side Santos Laguna. With the Guerreros, he appeared in 60 regular-season matches, playing alongside now Timbers forward Johnathan Rodriguéz, with the pair winning the Liga MX Clausura title in 2018. After returning to Portland to play from 2018-2020, Villafaña finished his professional career with the LA Galaxy in 2022.

On the international level, Villafaña was a frequent contributor to the U.S. U-20 and U-23 youth national teams, playing in the 2009 FIFA U-20 World Cup and helping the U.S. win the CONCACAF U-20 Championship that same year. On the senior level, Villafaña debuted in 2017, becoming the national team’s starting left back where he earned 21 caps en route to winning the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup.

Villafaña and his family now live in Portland, Ore.

“To the young dreamers, keep chasing your passion with all your heart,” he said. “Remember, every goal starts with a 'DREAM' (SUEÑO)!”