Timbers History

Liam Ridgewell's mischievous, playful, winning legacy

In his four and half year tenure with the Timbers (2014 to 2019) the stats speak for themselves.

Liam Ridgewell was the first big defensive acquisition in the team's Major League Soccer history, and whether you measure it in trophies (3), postseason wins (7) or the type of on-off numbers we cited over the 2018 season’s final months, the former captain more than justified that acquisition on the field.

with Ridgewell
without Ridgewell
Minutes Played
Goals Allowed

The number only tell part of the story however, and when he left the team after the Timbers' his second MLS Cup appearance, he left behind something else.

He was the one who led the Timbers on the field, his vocal presence often serving as an on-field coach. He was the one his teammates would occasionally go to with a piece of film on their laptops and phone, asking questions about what he saw or how he’d react to scenarios. He was the one whose unique brand of aloof confidence helped the team’s believe it could beat anybody, without spending every waking hour worrying about how they’d prove it.

Ridgewell isn’t the most physically-gifted defender Portland’s ever had, but over the course of his four-and-a-half-year tenure in the Rose City, he became one the team’s most important. Players like Eric Brunner and Futty Danso had played well, before, while others like Nat Borchers and Larrys Mabiala excelled beside him, but it was only while Ridgewell was on the field that the Timbers, since the middle of the 2014 season, began to reach their potential.

with Ridgewell
without Ridgewell
Record (W-L-T)
Parting words: a thank you to "Ridgy" from 2019

“We are a better team when Liam’s in it when Liam is doing what Liam does,” Timbers’ President of Soccer Gavin Wilkinson said, in the week after MLS Cup 2018. “The quality of Liam is incredible. The personality. The ability on the field. Anybody that’s objective understands what he brings to the group.”

In his playfulness, whimsy, along with the credibility he earned with his play on the field, the former Aston Villa, Birmingham City and West Bromwich Albion defender forged a special place in the dressing room. He may not have had the philosophical presence of Valeri, or the metronomic consistency of Chara, but he was outgoing, and connective. He brought an element of fun which, along with an athlete’s sharpened edge, added a cocky delight to the locker room. He may have been a father three times over and well established as a family man off the field, but in the pleasure he found from playing as a professional, Ridgewell reminded everyone that there should be joy in the job.

It’s unique that a personality so mischievous also commands so much respect—or so many accomplishments. In all, there were two conference titles. There was also an MLS Cup, another first-place finish in the West, an MLS All-Star Game and, through much of his career in the Rose City, a place at the top of the line when the team walked out of the tunnel.

Luckily for Timbers fans and staff alike, Ridgewell rejoined the team in 2021, this time as a broadcaster.