Timbers round out coaching staff

PORTLAND, Ore. – Portland Timbers head coach Gavin Wilkinson announced today the team’s coaching staff for the 2007 season. Assistant coaches Jim Rilatt and Rod Underwood join the Timbers’ sideline staff, while Jim Brazeau returns for a sixth season as the club’s goalkeeping coach.

Underwood joins the Timbers for the 2007 season, his 10th as a professional coach. In 1997, Underwood led the Albuquerque Geckos, a former USL club, to the D3 Pro League title and promotion to the A-League in 1998. Underwood currently holds advanced coaching certificates from the Netherlands and Wales and also has a USSF “A” license. The Atlanta native was a standout at Furman University before starting his professional career in 1989.

“Rod has coached at the professional level, and I’m excited to have him here in Portland,” said Wilkinson. “He brings a fresh approach and new ideas to our organization and can provide outside input on the direction the club is heading.”

Joining the team in late April, Underwood will be on the sideline for the Club Necaxa match on May 9.

Brazeau returns for a sixth season as the Timbers goalkeeping coach. Currently the head coach for the men’s program at Pacific University in Forest Grove, Ore., Brazeau was named Northwest Conference Coach of the Year in 2006, leading the Boxers to a 10-6-1 record. Brazeau was the goalkeeper coach under former head coach Bobby Howe from 2001-2005. He played collegiate soccer at Pacific University and Oregon State University before starting his six-year pro career.

Rilatt, a long-time Portland-area coach, is new to the Timbers coaching staff in 2007. Coaching at various levels, Rilatt has been involved in Oregon soccer for over 20 years. During his 14 years of coaching at the high school level, Rilatt was a five-time Mt. Hood Conference Coach of the Year selection. Since then, he has coached a handful of collegiate programs and currently assists Brazeau at Pacific University. In 1994, Rilatt led FC Portland to the U.S. Youth Soccer national title and now works with Lake Oswego Soccer Club.

“Both Brazeau and Rilatt are an extremely beneficial addition,” said Wilkinson. “Both have extensive knowledge of the local soccer scene and have been successful at every level they’ve coached.”

With a full staff, Wilkinson and the Timbers begin the 2007 USL First Division season Saturday against the Puerto Rico Islanders at PGE Park. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.