Defender Alvas Powell, the club's 2014 Up and Coming Player of the Year, is maturing right before the eyes of Timbers supporters. The 20-year-old Jamaican full back tallied his first two career MLS goals in back-to-back matches on Aug. 30 and Sept. 7, while also netting his first-ever competitive goal for the Timbers in CONCACAF Champions League group play Aug. 19. A native of Danvers Pen in St. Thomas Parish, Jamaica, Powell is already becoming a steady presence on the Jamaica National Team and is working hard toward becoming the same for the Timbers.
Powell comes from a small, tight-knit community in southeast Jamaica and despite being more than 3,000 miles away from home, he stays in close touch with his large family.
“I have six sisters. I’m the third-oldest. One is married, one has five kids and the rest are in school. My oldest sister is 27 and the youngest is 11. It’s a very big family. Everybody lives in the same community as me [in Jamaica]. So my mom calls me almost every day. Sometimes they just call together to talk to me. I hear from them a lot, so it’s good to keep in touch with my family.”
Powell worked his way up the Jamaica Men’s National Team ladder, playing in the 2011 FIFA U-17 World Cup and eventually captaining the Jamaica U-20 National Team before earning his chance with the senior team in 2012.
“Playing for my country has helped me a lot because it was a big experience. It was good for me to captain the U-20 team. I felt a lot of responsibility and pride. I had the country on my back, relying on me to captain the team and make sure everybody was doing positive things. I was captain on the field, captain off the field.”
Powell netted his first goal in all competitions for Portland in a 4-1 win over Alpha United FC in CCL group play on Aug. 19 in Georgetown, Guyana. He followed that up with his first career MLS goal in a 3-0 win for the Timbers on Aug. 30 at Vancouver.
“It was an exciting moment to talk to my mom about the goal because she knows when I used to go to high school, I scored a lot of goals. So now I’m scoring and performing and keeping up the good work [for Portland].”
When he’s got some down time, Powell likes to relax, listen to music and be with his thoughts, but sometimes he likes to head out to the bowling alley.
“Bowling is fun. At first, one of my friends told me about this bowling thing and I was like ‘I don’t want to go.’ They told me to try it once, so I tried it. It’s my favorite thing in Portland. I like to go bowling.”
Not the only Jamaican on the Timbers, Powell has tried to follow the example of fellow Reggae Boy Donovan Ricketts.
“Donovan has helped me a lot here because I don’t have my family here, but that guy has become a close brother to me. Sometimes I don’t cook and he’ll invite me over to have Jamaican food. He encourages me at training and game time. Try to take what the senior guys do, do what they do. Be a real professional. Donovan helped me in a lot of cases and he’s like my big brother.”