PORTLAND, Ore. — The Portland Timbers today announced the formation of the “adidas Timbers Alliance,” a strategic partnership with elite local youth clubs in the Timbers’ development territory, designed to build unique working relationships and development opportunities to help channel the top youth players towards the Timbers’ development programs and the Timbers Academy.
Additionally, the Timbers announced the three clubs to join the adidas Timbers Alliance in the Eastside Timbers (formerly Eastside United FC), Vancouver United Timbers (formerly Columbia Timbers) and Westside Timbers (formerly Westside Metros).
“Each of these clubs shares a passion and a vision for developing youth players and providing elite opportunities for youth,” said Timbers Academy Director Mike Smith. “These clubs are excellent community ambassadors for the sport and excel at player development.”
As part of the alliance, the Major League Soccer club will share coaching resources and curriculum with alliance clubs in the development of both boys and girls youth players. Additionally, youth clubs in the alliance will be allowed the unique privilege of incorporating the Timbers brand into their club name and wear a special adidas Timbers Alliance badge as part of the uniform. On the field, each alliance club will wear the same color jerseys – red and white – in recognition of the partnership with the Timbers.
“While a partner with the Timbers, the adidas Timbers Alliance clubs will continue to maintain their own identities and will continue to be leaders, both on and off the field, within their own communities,” said Smith.
"The United States has some of the best athletic talent in the world and it’s our goal to provide homegrown athletes with opportunities to play elite soccer," said Antonio Zea, director of soccer for adidas America. "With our recent extension of the Major League Soccer contract, we have put the importance of youth development at a premium and are excited about helping create youth club alliances with local MLS clubs. This partnership between the Timbers alliance clubs, the Portland Timbers, and adidas will prove to be a great step in developing the next generation of American soccer icons."
Each of the three youth clubs in the adidas Timbers Alliance have strong relationships with their respective park districts, namely Tualatin Hills Park and Recreation District (THPRD), City of Gresham Parks and Regional Recreation, North Clackamas Parks & Recreation District and Vancouver-Clark Parks & Recreation, and are valued members of their respective communities.
The Timbers Academy will commence this fall, with teams competing in the U-16 and U-18 age brackets of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy. Timbers Academy teams will compete in the Northwest Division against other elite youth teams in the region, including academy teams from MLS clubs Seattle Sounders FC and Vancouver Whitecaps FC. The teams will also be a part of the annual Generation adidas Cup, facing off against academy teams from across MLS. Currently, the Timbers have established six Regional Training Centers, in partnership with Oregon Youth Soccer Association (OYSA) and Oregon’s Olympic Development Program (ODP), providing elite training and competitive opportunities for boys throughout the state at various age groups.
Youth players from across the Timbers development territory, not just affiliated with an adidas Timbers Alliance club, will have the opportunity to try out for an Timbers Academy team or a place in one of the Regional Training Centers in late summer or early fall.
Additionally, the Timbers have future plans to form an elite girls division as part of the Oregon’s ODP program and the club’s academy structure.