- Portland Timbers general manager Jim Taylor has been named the A-League Executive of the Year, it was announced by United Soccer Leagues during its recent Annual Operations Meetings held in Clearwater Beach, Fla.

Taylor, 41, has been the general manager of the franchise since its inaugural A-League season in 2001 and has presided over four winning seasons at the helm of the Portland club.

In their most successful season to date, the Timbers finished 2004 as the A-League’s regular-season champions with an 18-7-3 record. The season also netted a trip to the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup and the team’s third playoff berth in four seasons of play.

"The success of the Timbers on and off the field over the past four seasons in the A-League is largely attributable to the vision and leadership of Jim Taylor,” said USL Vice President and A-League Director of Operations Tim Holt. “He is held in very high esteem by his peers around the league, and this honor is merely validation of what has become common knowledge in terms of Jim's talents and contribution to the growth of the Timbers and USL."

Under Taylor’s administrative guidance, the Timbers have compiled a 59-40-11 record in their four A-League seasons, one of the top records in the league during that span despite the team’s status as an expansion franchise in 2001.

In addition to their on-field success, the Timbers consistently rank near the top of the A-League in attendance and boast the Timbers Army, one of the largest supporters groups in American professional soccer.

Likewise, the Timbers were voted as the “Best Local Sports Team” in a readers’ poll conducted by Willamette Week in August 2004.

"While this is an individual award, it took a team of people to achieve it," Taylor said of the A-League award. "I owe a great debt of gratitude to our hardworking front office staff; to our coaches, trainers, doctors, and players; and, of course, to our wonderful fans, particularly all my friends in the Timbers Army.

“I especially want to thank head coach Bobby Howe. He's proven to be a great mentor, role model and friend. Without his outstanding leadership and experience, none of this would have been possible. I also have to thank my family and friends who've stood behind me through thick and thin. I also want to recognize and thank Jack Cain, our club president, and the Pacific Coast League for believing in us and providing the tools necessary to accomplish all that we did in 2004.”

Prior to joining the Timbers, Taylor, a lifelong native of the Portland area, spent eight years as the director of corporate communications for the National Basketball Association’s Portland Trail Blazers. Additionally, Taylor served as the venue director for a FIFA Women’s World Cup event held in Portland in 1999 and assisted in bringing a series of three successful doubleheader soccer events to PGE Park during the 2003 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

Taylor’s award capped a series of postseason accolades for the Timbers. In September, it was announced that Howe was singled out as the A-League Coach of the Year for his efforts in guiding the team to its fourth straight winning season, while striker Alan Gordon, the top draft pick of Howe and Taylor in the 2004 A-League Draft, was named the league’s rookie of the year.

Also at the AOM, Taylor accepted an award commemorating the Timbers’ 2004 regular-season championship.