A lifetime of growing soccer in Portland: Timbers remember club great Bernie Fagan

Fagan, who played three seasons for the Timbers in the NASL era, leaves behind a legacy of expanding the game in Portland

The Portland Timbers are saddened to learn of the passing of club great Bernie Fagan. Fagan committed much of his life to growing the game in Portland and left an immeasurable mark on the club and in the community. On behalf of the entire organization, our thoughts are with his family during this time.

Named a Timbers alumni ambassador in 2011, Fagan played three seasons as a defender with the NASL Timbers from 1980-82, making 31 appearances for the outdoor club and 13 games with five goals for the indoor version of the team. His professional playing career spanned 16 years, including 10 years in England, where he won the FA Youth Cup with the U-18 side for club Sunderland AFC. Moving to the United States, Fagan had stints in the NASL with the Timbers, Seattle Sounders and Los Angeles Aztecs.

Fagan's path to Portland

In a feature published in 2015, Fagan spoke about how he got his break to sign for the Timbers:

...A fortuitous call to the Portland Timbers front office resulted in the chance that he'd been waiting for.

The receptionist told Fagan that the team was training down in Southern California for its preseason. She asked him if he could drive out to Anaheim to talk to the coach. Fagan, desperate for the opportunity, didn't hesitate.

"I played one of the best games I ever played in my life," Fagan remembered about his tryout. "I hit tens. Just one of those things. I knew I was a decent player, but I was on fire that day."

FOX 12 Oregon's Nick Krupke spoke with Fagan in 2015 about the former player's time in Portland both on and off the field:

A champion of growing soccer in the Rose City

Fagan's soccer impact in the Portland region was broad, covering over 35 years that saw him lead and direct soccer camps, youth clubs and collegiate programs.

Following his playing career, he became the men's team head coach at Warner Pacific College in 1982 where he coached for 26 years (1982-1991, 1997-2014) and also coached the women's soccer program at Portland State University (1994-1997). Fagan also founded the Oregon Soccer Academy, a successful youth soccer club that fielded select and premier teams, and he was involved in Special Olympics for over a decade, serving as the organization’s Soccer Director from 1991-2004. Hundreds of Portland kids passed through his well-known Bernie Fagan Soccer Camps as well as the Fred Meyer Soccer Camps that he ran with Clive Charles, a former Timbers teammate and fellow club great, from 1984-92.