Pashington Obeng, Timbers540
(Timbers.com)

Axe Rewind: Pashington Obeng's face familiar to Portland Timbers fans after being on side of Providence Park

For 2010 Fan Axe model Pashington Obeng, the last four years have ushered in a lot of new changes.

Not only is he working a dream job as brand ambassador of soccer at sporting giant adidas, but he's also a father to a one-and-a-half year-old daughter, something he describes as a "game changer."

But as much as things have changed personally for Obeng, on the sporting front, some things remain the same.

Obeng, who was born in Ghana, still closely follows the Ghanaian National Team. So what was his reaction then when his Black Stars drew the U.S. for the third straight World Cup?

"I couldn't believe that we had the U.S. again in the group stage," he said.

Because of his job with adidas, Obeng was fortunate enough to travel down to Brazil for the World Cup and even more fortunate to score tickets to Estadio Das Dunas in Natal to watch the two teams meet in their Group G opener.

Predictably, Obeng experienced the whole gamut of emotions throughout the game's ninety minutes.

"It went from sheer excitement that I was actually at a World Cup game to being gutted after the first goal, to then, when we scored again, to be like, 'OK, we're back in it.' At the end of the game, when the U.S. scored that header goal I was gutted. I was crushed. I wasn't like, 'Hey, the U.S.' I was like, "Aw man, that doesn't work at all.'"

When Obeng was two years-old, his family relocated from Ghana to Wellesley, Massachusetts. He first followed his heart to Portland—hometown of his college sweetheart—eleven years ago.

While the New England native struggled at first to adapt to the Rose City, it wasn't long before he had fallen in love with his new home.

"Portland was quite welcoming," he said. "It has a great creative class, a great young population of people who are interested not only in caring about the city but also about just doing fun things. So it was a great city to move to after graduating and I've loved living here ever since."

Obeng, who played soccer competitively in college, quickly integrated into the business and soccer communities of Portland. In fact, it was during a pickup game that one of the members of the creative team behind the 2010 campaign tapped on Obeng's shoulder.

"We're working on this campaign," he explained to Obeng. "Would you be interested?"

The soccer-mad Obeng, who had been following the Timbers since the moment he arrived in town, agreed on the spot.

"The Timbers are such a fantastic team and movement to be a part of," he reflected. "So I jumped at the opportunity."

But even while he was having his photo taken for the campaign, Obeng wondered just where his image might end up.

So when he found out, through friends, that his photo had gone up on the side of the Timbers Providence Park stadium, he was completely surprised, admitting that he initially didn't like all the attention that the billboard brought him.

"A few times when I'd go to games, someone would come up and do a double take," he said. "The funniest thing is I get confused more for being a player because I'm on the billboard, athlete-sized. Every now and then someone will ask, 'Hey, are you a Timber?' and I'll say, 'No, I'm just a me.'"

But the massive billboard did come with at least one perk.

"When my mom came to town years later and she saw me on the side of the stadium, she was quite proud," Obeng explained. "So if I can make my mama proud, then it's for a good cause."

In the years since the 2010 shoot, Obeng has continued to support the team, even calling the 2011 season opener one of the best sporting events he's ever been to.

"Just the excitement, the support from the city, the fanfare, the Timbers Army—everything was what you would expect from a world class sporting event."

The Timbers, Obeng says, have not only helped make soccer cool in Portland, but they've helped raise the image of the game in America. The Timbers have shown the rest of the country how much the city of Portland and the entire Pacific Northwest love soccer.

"We have great fandom. We have great supporters. We have a great team of players that not only love the sport but understand what it means to wear that Timbers jersey and to represent the city that truly loves them."

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