Portland adds Dave van den Bergh, Shannon Murray, Paul Lombardo, Nacho Leblic and Connor Ceballos
PORTLAND, Ore. – The Portland Timbers today announced the full coaching and soccer operations staff ahead of the 2024 MLS Season.
Rounding out Timbers Head Coach Phil Neville’s staff, the club has signed Assistant Coach Dave van den Bergh and transitioned Shannon Murray from Timbers2 head coach to first team assistant coach. The club has already started its process to resolve the T2 head coaching vacancy.
Assistant coaches Liam Ridgewell and Guillermo “Memo” Valencia will return to the club. The Timbers have also added Director of Scouting Nacho Leblic, Head Video Analyst Connor Ceballos and Head Athletic Trainer Paul Lombardo.
“We are delighted to keep Liam and Memo as a part of our coaching staff, and we are excited to announce the addition of Dave and Shannon to the group. Liam and Memo have each played an important role vital to the club’s success, and they have continued to demonstrate their loyalty and passion for the club,” said Timbers General Manager Ned Grabavoy. “Dave brings the coaching staff a wealth of experience with his time in the sport, and we see him being a key asset within our group. Shannon has remained committed to learn and develop during his time with the club, and he is more than prepared to take on a role in supporting our first team.”
Van den Bergh, 47, brings 13 years of coaching experience with the New England Revolution and the U.S. U-15, U-19 and U-20 Men’s National Teams. Van den Bergh started his coaching career as a U-20 USMNT assistant (2010-2016) before being named head coach of the U-15 squad (2016-18) and head coach of the U-19 team (2019). He joined the New England Revolution in 2019 and helped the team earn the MLS Shield during the 2021 season, tallying a league-record 73 points in one season (22-7-5).
The Amsterdam, Netherlands, native began his playing career with Dutch side Ajax in 1995, winning a league title and reaching the semifinals of the UEFA Champions League in 1996. The former midfielder went on to play for Spain’s Rayo Vallecano (1997-2000), helping them earn their first UEFA Cup qualification before joining Dutch side FC Utrecht (2000-06). With FC Utrecht, Van den Bergh registered 29 goals, helping the team to earn five straight UEFA Cup appearances, the Dutch Cup (2003) and the Dutch Super Cup (2004).
In 2006, Van den Bergh joined MLS side Kansas City Wizards and went on to play for the New York Red Bulls (2007-2008) and FC Dallas (2009), tallying 15 goals in 98 MLS appearances through four seasons. Internationally, Van den Bergh earned two caps with the Netherlands Men’s National Team in 2004, making his debut on Oct. 18, 2004. He also represented the Netherlands in the 1995 FIFA U-20 World Cup.
Murray and Valencia will begin their seventh seasons with the club after joining the Timbers coaching staff in 2018. The two helped the team earn two MLS Cup appearances (2018, 2021), winning the MLS Western Conference Championship in both of those seasons. During their first six seasons, the team made four playoff appearances (2018, 2019, 2020, 2021) and won the 2020 MLS Is Back Tournament. During the 2022 and 2023 campaigns, Murray led T2 as head coach in MLS NEXT Pro. Notably, Murray completed his U.S. Soccer Pro License in December of 2023. Ridgewell returns for a second season on the Timbers coaching staff after joining in 2023. Notably, Ridgewell played five seasons in the Green and Gold (2014-2018). A two-time MLS All-Star (2014, 2016), Ridgewell was named Timbers Defender of the Year twice (2014, 2015) after signing with Portland as a Designated Player in 2014. In his five seasons with the Timbers, Ridgewell helped the Timbers to an MLS Cup (2015) and two MLS Cup appearances (2015, 2018).
“I wanted to bring freshness to the group, and with the addition of Dave alongside Liam, Shannon and Memo, we have a group with great experience. They are winners in this game, all have MLS Cup experience, and they have massive tactical knowledge and organization skills,” said Timbers Head Coach Phil Neville. “Connor also brings great analytical skills to the group and will provide insights on the opposition as well as to our own game model. I’m really excited to have them on my team and get to work with them.”
The team’s Head Athletic Trainer, Lombardo joins the Timbers health and performance team with 13 years of MLS experience at FC Dallas (July 2011-2014) and Seattle Sounders FC (2015-2023). Most recently, Lombardo served as the lead assistant athletic trainer in Seattle for nine seasons. Lombardo earned his Bachelor of Science in Athletic Training at the University of Nevada and his Master of Science in Rehabilitation at California University of Pennsylvania.
As Director of Scouting, Leblic joins Grabavoy and Technical Director Jack Dodd in the front office after spending an extended period in Spain’s top-tier at La Liga’s C.A. Osasuna as Head of Sport Data Analyst and Scouting in Pamplona, Spain. Leblic holds degrees in Sports Management and Sports Science, a master’s degree in Direction, Methodology and Soccer Analysis from La Liga Business School and a master’s degree in Big Data applied to Scouting from UCAM and Sevilla FC. Additionally, he holds a UEFA A Coaching License and completed Sports Director courses at Universidad Rey Juan Carlos from the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF).
Ceballos joins the Timbers as Head Video Analyst after spending the 2023 season at Inter Miami CF (2023). Before joining Miami, Ceballos spent time at Atlanta United FC as an Opposition Analyst and Youth Programs coach. Ceballos brings further experience as a former Assistant Coach at Life University and Video Scout for 360 Scouting. He holds a U.S. Soccer D License.
Head of Health and Performance Nick Milonas and Director of Sports Medicine Matthew Weston, as well as Associate Head Athletic Trainer Taichi Kitagawa, Assistant Athletic Trainer Aldair Rodriguez and Performance Specialist Charles Burdick remain on the Timbers health and performance staff.