PORTLAND, Ore. – The Portland Timbers have re-signed defender Justin Thompson for the 2008 season, it was announced today pending USSF approval. A member of the Timbers record-setting defensive unit in 2007, Thompson returns for a second season with Portland in 2008.
Last season, Thompson played in 23 matches and recorded one goal and an assist for the Timbers. The North Vancouver, B.C., native also tallied a goal and an assist in the playoffs to help the Timbers reach the USL First Division semifinals. He was a member of Portland’s backline that led the league in fewest goals allowed (18) and set a modern-franchise record with 14 shutouts in a single season. Thompson was twice named to the league’s Team of the Week in Weeks 15 and 19.
“It’s great to have Justin back for the 2008 season,” said Gavin Wilkinson, Timbers general manager and head coach. “He is a great communicator, brings stability to the backline and is focused on winning.”
“I’m delighted about the opportunity to return to Portland,” said Thompson. “I genuinely feel that we left a job to finish at the end of the 2007 season, and I can’t wait to come back and finish what we started last year. We have some high expectations heading into the 2008 season. Defensively, we’ll continue to work hard to remain stingy at the back.”
Thompson, 27, began his professional career with English club Bury FC in 2003 and has split his career between clubs in England and the USL First Division. Since his rookie season with Bury, he has played for English sides Hornchurch FC (2004-05) and Worcester City FC (2005-07). In his two seasons with Worcester City, he made 97 appearances and scored five goals.
Between seasons in England, he played for the Vancouver Whitecaps in 2004 and the Virginia Beach Mariners in 2005.
Prior to his professional career, Thompson was a member of the U-18, U-20 and U-23 Canadian National Teams. In 2001, he competed with Canada’s U-20 squad in the FIFA World Youth Championships in Argentina and in the CONCACAF U-20 qualifying tournament. Thompson made his Canadian Olympic team debut in May 2002 and earned six caps with the U-23 squad during 2004 Olympic qualifying matches.
Thompson was a standout forward at Fairfield (CT) University. He recorded 15 goals and 13 assists in three seasons at Fairfield, leading the team in scoring both his junior and senior seasons. Thompson finished his collegiate career among Fairfield’s all-time leading scorers with 43 points. He was an All-Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) first-team selection as a senior.
The signing of Thompson now brings the Timbers list of roster players to 18. He is expected to join the team in training camp March 31.
In preparation for the 2008 USL First Division campaign, the Timbers face Major League Soccer’s San Jose Earthquakes and Gonzaga University this weekend in preseason matches. Portland opens the regular season April 17 against the Puerto Rico Islanders at PGE Park. Tickets, starting at $11, are available through the PGE Park box office, area Ticketmaster locations, online at www.ticketmaster.com or by phone at (503) 224-4400. Season tickets for the Timbers’ 2008 campaign are available by contacting the Timbers ticket office at (503) 553-5555.