Timbers add Brian Visser, sign first U-23s player

PORTLAND, Ore.– The Portland Timbers announced today the club has signed goalkeeper Brian Visser for the 2009 USL First Division season and midfielder Mutanda Kwesele as the club’s first Timbers U-23s player. Both transactions are pending USL and USSF approval.

Visser, 21, enters his first professional season with the Timbers in 2009. He recently finished his collegiate career at DePaul University, where he was a two-time All-Big East selection and was named the conference’s goalkeeper of the year in 2007. Visser, a native of Elmhurst, Ill., set several goalkeeping records during his time with the Blue Demons, including games played (75), career shutouts (28), shutouts in a single season (11) and single-season goals-against average (0.62). As a junior in 2007, he posted an 11-8-0 record with 10 shutouts to lead DePaul to the Big East Red Division title and its first NCAA tournament appearance.

Kwesele, 23, is the first player signed by the Timbers U-23s as the team prepares for its inaugural season in the Premier Development League in 2009. A native of Seattle, Wash., Kwesele was a standout at Seattle University, where he played for three seasons, helping the Redhawks reach the NCAA tournament in back-to-back seasons in 2006 and 2007. In total, he played in 42 games during his college career and recorded two goals and five assists. Kwesele, who played his final college season in 2008, attended the Timbers’ annual player tryout in January.

“Mutanda is a very hard-working and intelligent player who will provide a solid foundation for our PDL team this season,” said Timbers general manager Gavin Wilkinson. “We have high expectations for Mutanda and expect to see him challenge for a first-team spot in the coming years.”

Both Visser and Kwesele have been training with the Timbers’ first team since preseason training camp opened on March 9.

Additionally, the Timbers announced today the release of midfielder Miguel Guante in order to continue his recovery from offseason microfracture surgery. Guante played in 28 matches for the Timbers last season and scored two goals.

“We are hopeful that Miguel will make a full recovery,” said Wilkinson. “We will continue to monitor his progress over the next few months, and could possibly have him back in a Timbers uniform in the near future.”

The Timbers open the 2009 USL First Division season April 25 on the road against the Vancouver Whitecaps. Portland faces the Carolina RailHawks in its home opener at PGE Park on April 30 at 7 p.m. Tickets, starting at $11, are available through the PGE Park box office, area Ticketmaster locations, online at www.ticketmaster.com or by phone at (800) 745-3000.