PORTLAND, Ore. – Under a wintery mix of snow and rain, the Portland Timbers opened preseason training camp Monday at PGE Park. Signed players and trialists took part in a series of training sessions focused on technical work and fitness. Click here for photos.
With the team’s first preseason match just five days away, third-year head coach Gavin Wilkinson and his staff conducted two training sessions on Monday at the stadium. The morning training session focused on ball work, possession drills and small-sided games. The afternoon session was more fitness-oriented.
Reporting for duty: In total, 20 players took part in Monday’s training session – 13 signed players and seven trialists. Signed players reporting Monday included forwards George Josten, Jason McLaughlin and Takayuki Suzuki, midfielders Josh Cameron, Tony McManus, Tom Poltl and Keith Savage, defenders Cameron Dunn, Cameron Knowles, Scot Thompson and Dieumerci Vua and goalkeeper Steve Cronin.
Of the seven trialists in camp Monday, five participated in the team’s informal workouts last week – Brian Visser, Johnny Alcaraz, Michael Gavin, Mutanda Kwesele and Daniel Leach. The other two trialists in camp are Mark Conrad and Jason Crasilneck. Both Conrad and Crasilneck have Northwest ties and attended the Timbers’ tryouts in January.
Training in the snow: Also arriving the first day of training camp was cold and wet weather. The players were greeted for their morning session by a brief snow shower that dusted the field. In the afternoon, hail fell over the field for about 20 minutes.
“It was crazy; I thought I was in another world,” said Savage, a native of Gulf Breeze, Fla. “It was my first time experiencing the snow and at first I had a hard time seeing. But once we got into the flow of training, I hardly noticed it and what came down just felt like rain – cold rain.”
“It wasn’t too bad once we got into training,” said Knowles. “But it reminded me a lot of my college days in Ohio at Akron. The ice and snow stuck to the ball and our shoes, but overall it wasn’t bad. I’d definitely prefer the snow over the blistering heat though.”
A land far, far away: A handful of the Timbers’ signed players traveled from different parts of the country and around the world in order to participate in the first day of preseason training. Of the players in camp Monday, defender Dieumerci Vua (DEE-mer-see VOO-ah) traveled the farthest, flying roughly 5,100 miles from Paris, France, into Portland over the weekend. Suzuki was a close second, traveling roughly 4,800 miles from Tokyo, Japan.
Agenda for Week 1 of Preseason: The Timbers will conduct two-a-day training sessions on Tuesday and Wednesday at PGE Park. The team will then train just once each day on Thursday and Friday as it prepare for its first preseason match Saturday in Santa Clara, Calif., against the San Jose Earthquakes of Major League Soccer at Buck Shaw Stadium at 7 p.m.