PORTLAND, Ore. – The Portland Timbers today announced the T2 staff ahead of the MLS NEXT Pro 2022 season. Shannon Murray has been named the head coach, Serge Dinkota and Andres Flores as assistant coaches, Steve Reese as the goalkeeper coach, Ian Russi to be the performance specialist and Ethan Konoza will be the athletic trainer.
The partnership announced between the Portland Timbers and Hillsboro Hops in October of 2019 will continue in 2022 and T2 will call Hillsboro Stadium home. The MiLB club will be responsible for running business operations, including marketing, ticketing and sponsorship sales. The Timbers will continue to own and manage soccer operations for the club.
“It’s an exciting time to reestablish T2 within our club. With Shannon’s experience at every level of the professional pathway, he is the ideal head coach to lead the program,” said Gavin Wilkinson, Timbers general manager and president of soccer. “We are very appreciative to be partnering with the Hops and look forward to expanding development for players within the club.”
Murray, who holds a USSF “A” license, is entering his seventh season with the club and has been with the Timbers’ first team coaching staff since 2018. First as a video/data analyst, he transitioned into an assistant coach role in his four years with the group. Prior to that, Murray served as an assistant coach with T2 for two seasons after joining the club on March 9, 2016.
“First, I would like to thank Merritt, Gavin, Ned and Gio for trusting me with this opportunity. It’s an important step for the club to reestablish the reserve team as a resource in the development process of our young players. I am looking forward to getting started with this project and continuing to support Gio and the first team staff in any way I can,” said Murray. “The various experiences that this staff bring will be extremely beneficial for our players and they will serve as tremendous role models. I’m excited to get to work with them.”
Before his time in Portland, Murray spent two seasons as an academy coach with Seattle Sounders FC. Additionally, Murray has been a member of U.S. Soccer’s National Coaching Education staff since 2011. A graduate of the University of Washington, Murray previously served as the technical director for Evergreen Soccer Club and the director of coaching education for Washington Youth Soccer. Prior to beginning his career in coaching and education, Murray played six professional seasons in the A-League and Continental Indoor Soccer League.
Dinkota joins T2 from the Timbers Academy where he served as a head coach for the U15 and U19 teams from 2019-2022. Prior to his time in Portland, Dinkota was a head coach for CF Montreal’s academy from 2014-2018. He holds a Canadian “A” license and is actively pursuing his USSF “A” license.
Flores will assume the assistant coach position having played three seasons with the Portland Timbers (2018-2020) and logging 45 matches played. Under head coach Giovanni Savarese, Flores played four seasons (2014-17) with the New York Cosmos in the NASL. Additionally, Flores has represented El Salvador in 65 international appearances.
Reese, T2’s goalkeeper coach, is entering his 11th year coaching for the club. Reese has spent time coaching the academy, T2 and Thorns FC during his time with Portland, and even played for the second-division Timbers from 2007-08.
Russi, the performance specialist, joins T2 after six seasons with the Timbers Academy. He earned his Bachelor of Science in Exercise and Sport Science from Oregon State University and is a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist through the NSCA.
Konoza, now the T2 athletic trainer, joins after one year spent with the Timbers Academy. After receiving his Bachelor of Science in Athletic Training and Sports Medicine at College of Charleston, Konoza earned his Master’s degree in Injury Prevention & Performance Enhancement and Rehabilitation Services from California University of Pennsylvania.
Established in June by Major League Soccer, MLS NEXT Pro will complete an integrated player pathway from MLS NEXT through to MLS first teams. The new league will offer young players and experienced professionals the opportunity to develop and showcase their talents while competing for an MLS NEXT Pro championship. A complete season schedule will be announced in the near future.