Will Johnson #2, Timbers vs. DCU, 5.27.15
Photo by Craig Mitchelldyer

Face-to-Face: Portland Timbers midfielder Will Johnson

Timbers midfielder Will Johnson sustained a fractured tibia and fibula in his right leg on Sept. 27 against Toronto FC and put in countless hours of work to get back onto the field for the Rose City. Despite missing the final five games of the 2014 season, Johnson still set an MLS-career high in minutes played (2,526) and tallied six goals and two assists while being named an MLS All-Star for a second consecutive season with the Timbers.

The Recovery
“It’s tough just from the standpoint of you miss being around the guys, you miss the camaraderie of the group. You’re in a routine every day where you’re around your teammates in the bunker getting ready to go to battle and all of a sudden somebody turns the lights off and you’re on your couch by yourself. It’s a very lonely, kind of depressing state that you’re in for quite a while. Especially with my injury, I couldn’t transfer that depression and anxiety or lonely feeling into any kind of a rehab so that for me was disappointing because I had to let the bones heal. Once I could finally get back on a field, I could channel that energy into a more positive state. The first three months were brutally tough and after that it’s much better.”

Fatherhood, times two
“It’s twice as hard, for sure. The only thing that’s easier is you have some of the gear, but we had a girl first and a boy second so it definitely didn’t help. The second time was actually harder because we had it pretty easy with our daughter. She was a good sleeper and teethed well and did all the normal stuff and our son has had more problems sleeping and more problems teething and all that.”

“There’s lots of people. I’m the type of person I try to take a little bit from everybody and really focus on what people’s strengths are and try to take a little piece. Obviously, my parents were always willing to do whatever it took for me to be in the right place at the right time, so it started with them. Then with Dave Richardson and Bret Hall, two guys who ran Sockers FC Chicago, they really helped me transition from a boy who wanted to play professional soccer into a guy who actually had a chance to play professional soccer through tough love and those kind of relationships. My brother, who is 22 months younger than me, we had a lot of good battles. I’d sum it up as my parents, my brother, and Dave Richardson and Bret Hall, they were my coaches who shaped me and gave me the chance to be able to play.”