Rodrigo Lopez being interviewed by kids
Portland Timbers

Somos Timbers: Bilingual Reporter Program has kids interviewing players

BILINGUAL REPORTER/REPORTERO BILINGÜE:  This program is a community focused initiative designed to encourage Hispanic youth to be proud of their heritage and language.  Students are nominated by their teachers or community leaders to have the opportunity to interview a Portland Timbers player, a member of the coaching staff, or perhaps a player from an opposing MLS team. With a professional interview, the students are able to further develop their speaking and writing skills in both English and Spanish while exhibiting a passion for the sport.  All interviews (English and Spanish) will then be posted on our website.  An advisory board then selects the student(s) who will be given the opportunity to conduct the interview(s) throughout the season. 

The pilot program was launched in April with a group of students from Hosford Middle School (6th-8th grade).  The students were nominated by their teachers to participate in the program.  The students participate in a group called FHL (Future Hispanic Leaders)/Poder Joven (Youth Power) and were each assigned separate tasks in the interview process.  The students had the opportunity to interview both Rodrigo Lopez (interview conducted in Spanish) and Steve Purdy (interview conducted in English).   The players autographed items for the students and took pictures with the group.  The students then wrote three separate articles in both languages about their experience.

Hosford MS FHL students interview the Portland Timbers
Written by  Rafael Corona-Solis - 8th grader Hosford MS/FHS

(Portland, OR)  On April 8th, 2011 a group of Hosford Middle School students who belong to FHL (Future Hispanic Leaders)/Youth Power had the immense opportunity to interview two professional soccer players and of Latino heritage from the Portland Timbers. “The almost two hour trip to get there was exhausting, but it finally paid off,” said a student. They started at the bus stop closest to school, got on TRIMET and it took three busses and a taxi to get there.  “One of the buses was twenty minutes late,” said Mrs. Calderon the group’s teacher. When they arrived they were able to see the Portland Timbers practice, and then shook hands and met the athletes.  They signed autographs: on a soccer ball, on their shirts even on their cleats. “It was a unique experience,” said one of the students.  The interviewed players were Steve Purdy and Rodrigo Lopez. With well thought out questions, each student had a role to play in the interview. In the end everyone was thrilled.  “Other schools should do this too, it is really a great experience,” said Carlos Calderon from the Hispanic Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce.

Written by Izayda Viera - 7th grader.  Those accompanying me in the interview were Esmeralda Martinez-López - 6th grader, Eduardo Pacheco and Andrew Mondragon - 8th graders.    The interview was conducted in English.

 Photo: Portland Timbers

(Portland, OR) Here we have an Amazing soccer player for the Portland Timbers.  His name is Steve Francis Purdy. Steve was born on February 5, 1985 in Bakersfield, California. He started playing soccer at the age of 5, now at 26 he has been playing for twenty one years. His mother is from El Salvador. He lived in San Jose, California. He started playing in California and then he moved to Germany to become a professional soccer player. He lived in Germany for two years. Once he started he went with the flow, he let everything happen on its own. He has traveled extensively to places around the world like Germany, Africa, El Salvador and Asia. His goal has been becoming a professional soccer player and has also participated in charities for people in need.  He plays and likes soccer because is a very good sport. Being a player for the Portland Timbers makes Steve feel proud to belong to such a great team and also honored he is representing Portland. His family always motivated him to do whatever he wanted to do. They instilled strong values and to follow his dreams. What he does to stay fit is: eating healthy like vegetables, fruits, doing lots of exercise and practicing. The position he plays for the Portland Timbers is a defender. His Jersey number is 25. When he was a little he liked school even though sometimes he didn’t want to go because he was tired but his parents always told him that if he wanted to be someone in the future, he had to study. He was actually pretty good at school. Steve is a really good player and a great person. Interviewing Steve Purdy was a turning point in my life.

Written by Gregorio Bermúdez - 8th grader. Interviewing with me were: Luz Mejía - 6th grader, Eric Mata, Rafael Corona-Solís - 8th graders from Hosford MS/FHL. Interview was in Spanish.

(Portland, OR)  Dreaming of being next to someone famous can be easy, but talking to him is the hard part. On April 8, 2011, I had the opportunity with my classmates to interview Rodrigo López from the Portland Timbers.  I asked questions that made me find out a little more about soccer and a lot about this Portland Timbers athlete. Some of the questions I asked were: “How long have you been playing soccer since signing the contract?” Rodrigo replied, “Eight years.” Another question I had in mind was, “Before becoming a team player of the Timbers, have you played for any other team?” Rodrigo López answered, "Yes, as a matter of fact, I played with Chivas de Guadalajara and Chivas USA from the MLS". “When playing for Chivas, I asked, “How would you describe your experience?” He responded "Yes, I liked playing for them and I feel grateful for being able to share soccer with the players from Chivas whom are playing in the first division, and also having the opportunity to play for the USA’s National Team.” Rodrigo López feels proud, happy, and anxious that he has been chosen to play in the MLS for the Timbers. As for how Rodrigo feels around his teammates, he answered, “I consider them as family.” Towards the end of the conversation I asked him about what he does to stay in shape, what he likes to do outside of soccer, and most importantly how he manages the ball out in the field. To all those questions he answered, "I like to play soccer, watch my diet, and like to run. Out in the field I like to pass and call for the ball, I play midfielder." I asked Rodrigo if he had ever gotten an injury, and if so what kind and how long was he out of the game? He answered, "Yes, I have been hurt before.  I had a hernia and stayed off the field for about two months.” My favorite question was what he liked to do with his free time? Rodrigo López said, “I enjoy playing basketball, a little bit of tennis and swimming. I also enjoy playing Xbox in my spare time." 

I consider this experience a very good one because I found out that being bilingual, Hispanic, and being able to share what I know with others is a good thing for me to succeed in the future. When talking face to face with Rodrigo López, I felt mature as I had the strength to keep my coolness and show respect.