An offseason addition to the Timbers attacking corps, forward Gastón Fernández brings another dimension of quickness and creativity to the team’s already talented front line. A native of Buenos Aires, Argentina, the 5-foot-7 striker has honed his skills in his home country, as well in Mexico’s first division before arriving in the Rose City. A family man at his core, take a minute to get to know one of the newest members of the Timbers’ family.
Fernández learned the game from his father, watching his dad play in recreational leagues in Argentina, where the game is king. “My dad played at the amateur level, but never professionally. Soccer in Argentina, it’s just part of our lives, so people just play everywhere.”
Off the Field
The life of a professional soccer player doesn’t really allow for a lot of down time during the busy season, so any time Fernández is able to spend time with his wife, son and daughter, he cherishes it. “I really enjoy spending time with my family when soccer permits it. To me, family is very important and to be able to be with my wife and kids, to be able to do anything that we can, is very important. Those are the opportunities that I enjoy a lot.”
The Importance of Family
Growing up, the Timbers forward dealt with loss, but also benefitted from the outpouring of support and love from his family. “I have one sister, she’s older than me. She’s 34 and she’s going to kill me for giving up her age. My dad, sadly, passed away when I was 10 years old, so in Argentina it’s only my mom and sister who are there – probably missing my family and me tremendously. Without a doubt, it’s very difficult to deal with a situation like that [the death of a parent] especially in my case that happened at such a young age. Fortunately for me, I was able to grow up in a group of extended family who was very important. Grandparents, uncles and aunts, everyone was very supportive. They helped me be able to get my career ahead and as my career advanced I was able to provide for my mom and sister, which made our relationship even more special. It goes beyond son and mother or brother and sister. We’re very, very close friends, too.”
Fernández began his career at storied Argentine club River Plate, coming up through the team’s youth system. Known as Los Millonarios, the 112-year-old club has won 35 Primera División titles.
Up for the Challenge
At 30-years-old, Fernández still feels like he has a lot to offer and hopes to leave his mark on both the Timbers and MLS. “It’s a bit of a challenge, because in an athlete’s career as the time goes on you start to realize that your career is getting shorter. At this time where I am now, with the amount of experience I have, I still have a lot of years left in me and I want to contribute here in MLS. I want to leave a mark. I came here for a reason. I want to be remembered. I don’t want to just pass unnoticed in this league. By doing that, I want to show the club that they made the right decision in bringing me here at this point in my career. I want to help the team to find success and hopefully win some titles and do some special things here.”
Read more about Portland Timbers players in the latest Green & White Magazine. Available for free at all home matches at Providence Park.