Portland Timbers defender Liam Ridgewell to join Wigan Athletic on short-term loan

PORTLAND, Ore. – Portland Timbers defender Liam Ridgewell will join English Football League Championship club Wigan Athletic on a short-term loan, it was announced today.

Ridgewell, 30, made 15 regular-season appearances (all starts) in his first MLS season in 2014, scoring two goals and recording one assist. Joining the Timbers as a Designated Player on June 25, Ridgewell made his MLS debut on July 18 in a 2-1 win over the Colorado Rapids at Providence Park. A veteran of more than 250 matches over 11 seasons in the English Premier League, Ridgewell tallied his first career MLS goal – the game-tying goal – in the 65th minute of a 1-1 draw at the New England Revolution on Aug. 16.

“Liam expressed an interest in staying in the UK on a short-term loan as this offseason is longer than any he has encountered in his professional career,” said Gavin Wilkinson, Timbers general manager. “He wants to start the 2015 MLS season on the right foot. Several clubs had contacted us in regards to taking him on loan, however with us dictating the terms and timing of this deal it was not viable for all concerned. We feel that this deal works well for both the player and the club. Liam will return to Portland in time to prepare for the season with the Timbers and be match fit and sharp.”

A Bexleyheath, England native, Ridgewell helped the Timbers compile a 304-minute stretch without conceding a goal as the team logged shutouts in each of its final three regular-season matches.

“I’m looking forward to this opportunity with Wigan,” Ridgewell said. “I think it will be the best way to get myself ready for the upcoming MLS season.”

Ridgewell is expected to miss the start of Timbers preseason training camp, but will rejoin the team prior to the 2015 Simple Invitational on Feb. 22.