Marco Farfan is a 17 year-old right back for Portland Timbers 2 and product of the Portland Timbers Academy system. The Gresham, Ore. native and soon-to-be Centennial High School senior is among the team leaders in minutes played this season with 1387 across 17 matches and was recently named at no. 7 in the USL 20 Under 20 list recognizing the best up-and-coming players in the league.
In this interview, Farfan opens up about playing for the Timbers Academy, making the jump up to the USL level, and what he's most looking forward to in his senior year of high school.
How did you first join the Timbers Academy?
Marco Farfan: My freshman year of high school, I was going to try out for the academy and went to these pre-tryouts for Eastside Timbers and Westside Timbers and it was just full of Eastside players. I got injured there, so I wasn't able to play academy there. The next year, I was going to try out and got a concussion in regionals with my club team, so I missed the first part of tryouts...I showed up to the second part of the tryouts and tried out there, so I joined the academy my sophomore year.
What was your experience like playing for the Academy? Was it really different from what you had experienced before?
MF: It was really different from Eastside. A lot more training, harder, more competition. But you get used to it.
What was it like for you then making the jump to T2?
MF: I feel like I adjusted pretty quickly. I started training with T2 last year and I got rostered a couple games but never played. So that was a good experience which led to trainings this year. Got more experience playing with them, getting used to the team. I feel like I adjusted quickly.
What are the biggest differences at this level from what you've experienced before?
MF: Speed of play, smarter players – it's a lot harder to play at this level than at the academy. It's a pretty big jump, so you just have to be careful in how you play.
What do you remember of the first game you started this season?
MF: [laughs] I was nervous, very nervous. I had never played in a stadium full of fans just yelling at you. There was a lot of pressure. I was a little rusty. I was very nervous, so I feel like I didn't perform as well as I had been.
Did you quickly get into that game mode though?
MF: After a while, I just forgot about the fans, forgot about everything and just focused on the game.
You've made a lot of progress as a player as the season has gone on. Have you noticed the adjustments that you've made in your game?
MF: Yeah, it's starting to get easier and easier each game. Learning more. There's still a lot of developing in me left, so I feel like it's been getting easier, just adjusting to those mistakes I've made.
What have been your toughest defensive assignments this season?
MF: There's some players that I've had to play against who are pretty pacey. I've had to adjust to that. I needed help from the team. Them seeing me as the young one, they've really helped me out.
You're going to be a senior next year. What are you most looking forward to in your senior year of high school?
MF: Training with T2 in the mornings and just going to school in the afternoons. Just looking forward to that every day. Just being able to be here in the mornings and play.