New defender #29 spoke to the press for the first time

How do you feel in your first week with the team?

JM: Things worked out well to join this team and I am very happy. It’s a big challenge for me, at my young age. The group has been extremely welcoming and we’re just training to be in good shape for the matches that are left. Those are very important to me.

What do you think about Portland so far?

There’s a lot of things I really like so far. It’s very different from the lifestyle in Colombia – in status and everything. Like I just said, I’m very happy and mainly excited to start playing the games and showcase who I am.

What do you feel you bring to this team?

As a player, the most important thing is to be present and have a good relationship with my teammates and the group. Like I said before, this is a healthy group that has welcomed me – I’m happy about that. On the field, I want to showcase what I’ve been doing in Colombia. I think I have performed well with my speed. I haven’t been able to score yet, but I want to continue to grow and try to be on the national team that is also a dream to me.

What are your interests off the field?

I’ve been building that part of myself step by step, but for now I’ve been just enjoying this, what God has for me and continues to give me. In time I will be able to think more about that part.

There are a lot of Colombians on this team. How have they welcomed you?

They’ve been very welcoming to me. Not only the Colombians but the group as a whole. I knew Santi [Santiago Moreno] already because we had played each other before in Medellin-America games. The Charas are from the city I’m from, very close. When they go back for vacation, we’ve had a few interactions but like I said, thanks to them I’ve felt in the best way possible.

Five Colombians together
The Timbers' Colombian quintet (left to right): Juan Mosquera, Diego Chara, Yimmi Chara, Santiago Moreno, and Dairon Asprilla

What are your personal expectations?

Like I said before, just starting here, I’ve been very happy since I got here. For now, just anxious to make my debut with this team – it’s something I’ve been building on little by little and when the moment comes, I’ll be able to enjoy that. The team will always come first, and the decision will always be from the coach. When its time to show who I am, I will take advantage and show the coach why I came here.

The first game you got to see was Portland versus Seattle. How was that experience?

It was something very moving to me. In Colombia you see different things, but that’s important for the team’s status. You can tell that we have a fanbase that always supports the team aside from the results. I hope I can bring a lot of happiness to them.

Why did you choose #29?

It’s a number that I received in Medellin, I’ve always had it. It wasn’t really a number that had caught my eye or anything, but I did play with it and stood out over there wearing that number. The number was available, and I chose to continue with that number.

Were you able to talk to anyone in the league to ask before coming here?

Yes, I spoke to Santi [Santiago Moreno], but I already kind of had the agreement because I did my research through other places as well. I think I took the best decision and I’m very happy to be here.

Did you follow the league in Colombia?

Yeah, I did follow it. I didn’t watch too much, but I did watch because I do have teammates that I shared time within the club [in Colombia], and also in the city during vacations. I would check in and see how they were doing.

What’s the biggest difference of being a professional player here versus in Colombia?

I think something very important is the structure – that’s what has caught my eye the most. In Colombia there’s struggles within such as equipment and things like that. I wasn’t as comfortable in Colombia, but here you have what you need to enjoy it all.