Five months into his rookie season, Portland Timbers center back Anthony Manning has asserted himself as a presence on T2’s backline. Cool and calm by nature, the Texas native talked about some of his favorite spots in Portland, influencers on his soccer career and his soccer idol, who isn’t particularly known for being a force on defense, in this Q&A.
You’ve been in Portland now for a few months. What’s your favorite thing about the Rose City?
Well it’s definitely got to be the downtown area. There are a lot of good restaurants; I like to go there with a couple of people, a couple of friends. It’s a good time.
Any favorite restaurants?
There’s one, Portland City Grill. It’s a really nice view.
What’s your soccer story? When did you first start playing the game and who has been the greatest influence on you over the years.
I started back when I was five years old. My parents pushed me into multiple sports, but soccer stuck with me. I guess my parents would be the biggest advocates for that, and a lot of coaches I grew up with. I had a lot of coaches back then that helped me become the player I am today.
But my college coach, Mike McGinty, was the best one so far. He gave me a chance to develop even though not having that great of a season my first year [at Saint Louis University], he still continued to play me and saw potential. It turned out good for me.
If you could meet one of your favorite footballers, who would that be?
It would definitely have to be Messi. He’s one of the best in the world; I would say the best in the world at this time.
What has your rookie season taught you about yourself, your game?
At this point it’s just me trying to develop. Learning off everybody else, all the older players. It’s really good to be around a bunch of experienced players that can help you develop and become a better player.
Biggest thing you miss about home in Mesquite, Texas?
It has to be family and friends, mostly. They’re a big influence on me and they’re good company.