Timbers sign two college standouts

The Portland Timbers announced today the signing of midfielders Lawrence Olum and Kevin Meissner for the 2007 season. Both Olum and Meissner attended the Timbers’ recent invitational tryout at PGE Park.

"Kevin and Lawrence are two great finds from our tryout in January," said Gavin Wilkinson, head coach and general manager of the Timbers. “Lawrence was spotted at the USL Players Combine in Florida. I have been impressed with his awareness, and his size and strength are added bonuses.”

“Both players will get opportunities and have the ability to fit in well as a midfielder or in the back."

Olum, 22, was a four-year starter at Missouri Baptist University in St. Louis, Mo. A native of Nairobi, Kenya, Olum began his collegiate career on the Spartans’ backline, earning All-America honorable mention and all-conference honors in his first two seasons. Olum moved to midfield his junior year and earned both All-America honorable mention and all-conference honors at his new position in 2006. As a senior in 2006, Olum led MBU to the All-American Midwest Conference championship match against McKendree College. He tallied 14 goals and 12 assists during his career at MBU.

Last year, Olum led the St. Louis Lions of the United Soccer Leagues (USL) Premier Development League (PDL) to a 7-3-6 record in the club’s inaugural season. Olum’s nine goals in 16 matches was a team-high, and he was named to the PDL Team of the Week in Week 8.

Meissner, 23, was a two-year team captain for the University of San Diego Toreros. A native of San Diego, Calif., Meissner was a four-time All-West Coast Conference (WCC) selection, including two first-team nods in 2005 and 2006. Meissner tallied a career-high five assists during his senior season (2006). Between collegiate seasons, Meissner was a member of the PDL’s Orange County Blue Star from 2003-2006 and played with current Timbers midifielder Tom Poltl during the 2003 and 2004 seasons.

The announcement brings the Timbers’ list of signed players to 11.

Portland kicks off its seventh USL First Division season at PGE Park on Saturday, April 21 against the Puerto Rico Islanders. A variety of season ticket options are available by calling the Timbers’ ticket office at (503) 553-5555.