Notebook: Timbers search for new talent continues

PORTLAND, Ore. With a mix of wintery weather expected, the Portland Timbers will conduct their annual invite trial this weekend as they continue their search for new talent for the upcoming season. Five countries and 12 states will be represented by the 100+ players at this weekend’s combine.
 
With roughly seven rosters spots up for grabs, the Timbers coaching staff, led by head coach Gavin Wilkinson and new director of soccer development Amos Magee, will have the tough task of evaluating dozens of professional and elite college players participating in the tryout. For the first time, the Timbers invite trial will also be attended by other professional clubs looking to fill roster spots.
 
Last weekend, the Timbers’ new talent search was aided by an open tryout held for 115 hopefuls at PGE Park. The open tryout consisted of a series of full-sided games, and in all players played a total of 280 minutes of soccer over course of the weekend. From the open tryout participants, four players were invited to attend the invite tryout and nearly 20 were selected for a tryout for the Timbers U-23s team in March.
 
In addition to hosting the two tryouts, Wilkinson has also attended the USL and Major League Soccer combines in effort to find the right players to add to his 2009 roster.

Click here to view photos from the Timbers two tryouts.
 
Remembering former NASL Timbers’ coach Vic Crowe
English club Aston Villa reported Thursday that former head coach of the Timbers’ North American Soccer League franchise, Vic Crowe, pasted away at the age of 76. Crowe, who also played and coached for Aston Villa prior to joining the Timbers, died on Wednesday from a long-time illness.
 
Crowe, a former member of the Welsh National Team, coached the Timbers in their first two seasons in the NASL in 1975 and 1976, and assembled a 24-22 record during his time at the helm. Perhaps the highlight of Crowe’s tenure in Portland was in 1975, when he guided to club to the ’75 Soccer Bowl in San Jose against the Tampa Bay Rowdies.
 
Working the crowd, literally
On Jan. 17, Timbers midfielder Kiki Lara and team mascot Joey Webber participated in the Portland Sports and Fitness Festival at the Memorial Coliseum. As part of the festival, Kiki and Joey orchestrated a series of soccer skills demonstrations and games for kids and young adults. The festival served as a fundraiser to help start middle school running programs in the Portland area. With funds raised from the Portland Sport and Fitness Festival, coaches will be hired to introduce running sports, such as track and field and cross country, to kids and help facilitate new after-school programs. To help promote the event, both Kiki and Joey spent an early morning with Drew Carney from KGW Channel 8 talking about the festival and participating in the various activites available at the festival. Click here to view a clip of both Kiki and Joey with Drew. Click here to view photos of Kiki and Joey at the festival.