Timbers GM, coach Chris Agnello resigns; Gavin Wilkinson named head coach, general manager

PORTLAND, Ore. - The Portland Timbers announced today that head coach and general manager Chris Agnello has resigned his position with the team to pursue other professional opportunities and that assistant coach Gavin Wilkinson has been named the new head coach and general manager of the USL First Division team.

“Chris brought a great deal of energy and enthusiasm to the team, and we thank him for his dedication and for the strides we made as an organization under his direction,” said John Cunningham, president of the Timbers. “We wish him the best in his future endeavors.”

Agnello, who joined the Timbers from Real Salt Lake of Major League Soccer, was appointed to his position with Portland in December 2005 and led the team to a 7-15-6 record (27 points) in his lone season with the club.

“My time with the Timbers has been rewarding; I am thankful for the opportunity and wish the organization all the best as I continue my career,” Agnello said. “As a team, we fell short of our goal to make the playoffs and contend for a league championship this season, but overall, we had a great group of young players, and it was a pleasure to be a part of Portland’s vibrant soccer community and to work with so many great people.”

Wilkinson, who served as a player/coach with the Timbers the past two seasons, will assume his new duties immediately and will be responsible for all team-related matters, including: scouting; player acquisition and signings; technical, tactical and physical training of the team; and continued development of Timbers soccer camps.

“As we move forward, we are very fortunate to have someone with Gavin’s considerable qualifications and familiarity with the organization in place,” Cunningham said. “Gavin has been part of the Timbers family from the beginning and is a well-respected member of the organization and the community as a whole.”

Wilkinson, 32, was a member of the inaugural 2001 Timbers USL squad and is the only player to participate in each of the team’s six seasons as a member of United Soccer Leagues. Wilkinson, a defender who played 283 minutes over eight games in limited playing duty with the Timbers in 2006, ranks third among the franchise’s career leaders in games (124) and minutes played (10,181).

“I am thankful to the Timbers organization for providing me with this opportunity,” Wilkinson said. “I look forward to continuing to work for an organization that I feel an extreme loyalty to and for one that is devoted to the game and the community.

“The 2007 season will be my seventh with the Timbers; I am proud to call Portland home, and I embrace the responsibility involved with my new position with the city’s proud soccer team. I will work diligently to return the Timbers to the top of the league standings and to provide an enjoyable and successful season for fans and players.”

Wilkinson, who will continue his duties as the director of coaching at EastSide United FC in suburban Portland, holds a USSF “A” coaching license and a USSF National Youth license.

A native of Auckland, New Zealand, Wilkinson is a veteran of 13 professional seasons as a player and has earned 38 international caps during his career.