A rock for the Timbers in the middle of the park, Diego Chara quickly won over the club’s supporters after joining the team in April 2011 with his work ethic, never-back-down attitude and team-first mentality – not to mention a kind and generous personality off the field. Chara has placed among the league’s top three players for total tackles won in each of his first three seasons in Major League Soccer, including finishing first in 2013. Chara’s willingness to do the dirty work for the sake of the team has helped the Colombian earn respect of everyone around the league.
As a child in his hometown of Cali, Colombia, Chara’s father introduced young Diego and his two brothers, Luis Felipe and Yimmy, to the sport – and they quickly fell in love. Attending soccer schools at a young age, Diego eventually joined the youth ranks of professional club Deportes QuindÍo and not surprisingly, his two brothers were also working their way up the soccer ladder as all three ultimately became professionals. “We always tried to help each other achieve our dream to play professional football,” Chara said. As Diego continues to fly around the center of the park for the Timbers, Luis Felipe currently plays for Venezuelan side Aragua FC, while Yimmy is a member of Deportes Tolima in Colombia.
In the Community
Since his arrival in 2011, Chara has always remained active in the community, lending a helping hand through the Timbers community outreach platforms, Stand Together and Somos Timbers, but also partnering with Mercy Corps on projects based in his native Colombia. “[Work in the community] is important to me. As a public figure, I think I can help the children in my country to use the sport as a lifestyle and here in Oregon to share in the community and let them get to know us as people.”
Earlier this year, Chara passed his milestone 100th career appearance for the Timbers - making him one of three players (along with Darlington Nagbe and Jack Jewsbury) to surpass the century mark in MLS appearances for Portland during the 2014 season. “It is something special to be able to reach 100 games with the Timbers,” Chara said. “I am very happy and I hope to be able to continue to do good things for the club.”
Words of Advice
“[Being a professional soccer player] it is a very short career and one of much sacrifice and discipline. I would tell young people who want to have a career in professional soccer to prepare well and fight for their dreams.”