Portland Rain
Photo by Craig Mitchelldyer

Timbers announce strategic partnerships with Portland Rain, Girls ODP Program

PORTLAND, Ore. — The Portland Timbers announced today strategic partnerships with the Portland Rain of the Women’s Premier Soccer League (WPSL) and Oregon Youth Soccer Association’s (OYSA) Girls Olympic Development (ODP) program, helping to create a vertically integrated development system from Oregon’s girls youth soccer levels to elite level women’s competition.

The collaborative partnership between the Timbers and OYSA on the Girls ODP program will provide the state with a recognized, high-level development system for elite female soccer players, one that is designed to coexist with youth clubs in sharing player development and allowing players to stay connected to their local clubs.

In partnership with the Rain, the Timbers will provide financial support to the club during the 2012 WPSL season and the Rain will become a member of the newly formed adidas Timbers Alliance. The Rain serves as the highest level of women’s soccer in Oregon and features some of the top female athletes and collegiate players from Portland and throughout the state.

“We have a deep passion for developing the sport of soccer in Oregon,” said Timbers general manager Gavin Wilkinson. “It is important that the Timbers look at all ways in helping to develop the sport and the state’s soccer community. We are pleased to be able to help the Rain and look forward to working with the club as part of the adidas Timbers Alliance.”

Similar to the Timbers Boys ODP program, the new Timbers Girls ODP program will aid in the development of home-grown talent through a network of Regional Training Centers located throughout Oregon. The program will target elite female players in the U-12 to U-14 age groups in each area. From the Regional Training Centers, a pool of players will be chosen to form girls state ODP teams at various age levels for regional and national competitions.

The Rain, reestablished in 2008, are led by head coach Janine Szpara and play a 10-match, regular-season schedule in the WPSL from May to July. Management and day-to-day operation of the Rain during the 2012 season will be a collaborative effort between Timbers and Rain personnel.

"The Portland Rain has existed for many years and has served as the elite level for women players in the area,” said Szpara. “This alliance with the Timbers brings us closer to making professional women's soccer in Portland a reality."

As members of the adidas Timbers Alliance, the Rain will wear red and white adidas Timbers Alliance kits, with the alliance patch on the sleeve for the 2012 WPSL season. The WPSL is a 70-club, nationwide league.

In preparation for the upcoming season, the Rain will conduct an open tryout on Sunday, May 6, at Clackamas Community College from 1-4 p.m. Click here for additional information or to register for the tryout. The Rain will play their home opener as part of the opening night celebrations at the Timbers-ODP Friendship Cup on Friday, May 25, at Tualatin Hills Park & Recreation District’s Howard M. Terpenning Complex at 7 p.m. Admission is free of charge.

The adidas Timbers Alliance is a network of strategic partnerships between the Timbers and elite local clubs in the Timbers’ development territory, designed to build unique working relationships and development opportunities for its member clubs. Through the adidas Timbers Alliance, the Timbers share resources and coaching curriculum with alliance clubs to aid in the development of players. At the youth level, the adidas Timbers Alliance helps channel top youth players – both boys and girls – towards the Timbers’ development programs and the Timbers Academy. The adidas Timbers Alliance features three elite Portland-area youth clubs in the Eastside Timbers, Vancouver United Timbers and Westside Timbers, and the Portland Rain of the Women’s Premier Soccer League.