Timbers add defender Stephen Keel for 2009

PORTLAND, Ore. – The Portland Timbers announced today the club has signed defender Stephen Keel for the 2009 season pending league and USSF approval. He played the last four seasons with the Colorado Rapids of Major League Soccer.

Keel, 25, trained with the Timbers on Friday and will join the team for their preseason match Saturday in Santa Clara, Calif., against the San Jose Earthquakes of MLS.

A native of Littleton, Colo., Keel played in 10 matches over the past four seasons with the Rapids – including six starts last season – and also appeared in 36 games with the Rapids reserves. He led the reserve team to back-to-back MLS Reserve Division championships in 2006 and 2007 and was named MLS Magazine’s Reserve Player of the Year following the 2007 season. His career also includes 10 matches with the Seattle Sounders of the USL First Division in 2006, while on loan from Colorado.

Keel played his collegiate career at Wake Forest University, where he recorded 12 goals and four assists in 62 games. As a sophomore, he helped Wake Forest capture the Atlantic Coast Conference regular-season title in 2002, and as a senior, led the Demon Deacons to the third round of the 2004 NCAA tournament as the No. 1 seed.

With the announcement, the Timbers have 23 players under contract for the 2009 campaign.

Following Saturday’s preseason match in San Jose, the Timbers return home to face the New York Red Bulls of MLS in preseason action March 20 at the University of Portland’s Clive Charles Soccer Complex at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10 and are available at the PGE Park and UP box offices, area Ticketmaster outlets, online at www.ticketmaster.com or by phone at 1-800-745-3000.

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