Timbers sign former Galaxy reserve Nsien, re-sign Morrison, Poltl

PORTLAND, Ore. – The Portland Timbers today signed defender Michael Nsien, and re-signed defender Lee Morrison and midfielder Tom Poltl.

“Nsien is a strong, steady player, and his signing definitely makes us quicker in the back,” said Chris Agnello, head coach and general manager of the Timbers. “Morrison brings strength and experience to the squad, and I’m very excited about what Tom Poltl can do on and off the field.”

Nsien, 25, joins the Timbers from the Los Angeles Galaxy Reserves. Prior to joining the professional ranks, Nsien was a standout defender at the University of Dayton from 1999-2003 where he was named Dayton’s Freshman of the Year. He was also chosen for the Atlantic 10 all-tournament team and was a second-team selection on the Atlantic 10 all-conference team following his senior season.

“I’m really looking forward to getting plenty of first-team playing time this season,” Nsien said. “Coach Agnello has been very straightforward about his high expectations for me, and I thrive under that sort of pressure.”

The Tulsa, Okla., native also spent a year playing for the Nigerian Under-23 National Team during its most-recent Olympic qualifiers.

Morrison, 26, returns to the Timbers for a fourth season in 2006. Originally signed by the Timbers in 2003, Morrison ranks fifth among the franchise’s career leaders in games (74) and minutes (6,293), and ranks ninth in fouls (69).

Prior to joining the Timbers, Morrison played with MLS’ Dallas Burn, who selected him as the 16th overall pick in the 2002 MLS SuperDraft. He attended Stanford University, where he became the all-time leader in consecutive games started (88). Morrison was a member of the 2001 All-Pac-10 first team and was a 2001 first-team All-America selection. Additionally, Morrison appeared as a member of the Under-20 National Team at the FIFA 1999 World Youth Championships and was a captain of the U.S. Under-18 National Team.

Poltl, 28, marks his second season with the Timbers after joining the team from the Orange County Blue Star of the Premier Development League. Last season, Poltl made 24 appearances in midfield for the club, scoring two goals and tallying an assist. Initially drafted as the 20th overall pick by the Colorado Rapids of MLS, Poltl also spent time in training camps with the L.A. Galaxy and the New England Revolution before playing with the Boston Bulldogs, formerly of United Soccer Leagues.

Poltl played collegiate soccer at UCLA for four years (1995-98) and was a member of the Bruins’ 1997 national championship team. A Soccer News All-American in 1997 and twice an All-Far West selection (1997, 1998), Poltl spent three years with the U.S. Men’s Under-20 National Team from 1995-97.

The addition of Morrison, Nsien and Poltl brings the Timbers’ list of signed players to 10.

Portland kicks off its sixth USL First Division season on Saturday, April 22, against the Vancouver Whitecaps at Swangard Stadium. The Timbers open the home portion of their season by playing host to the Whitecaps at PGE Park on Friday, May 5. A variety of season ticket options are available by calling the Timbers ticket office at (503) 553-5555. For detailed ticket information, go to www.portlandtimbers.com.