Today is Diego Valeri’s birthday. He is 31 years old, and he is living the life he was meant to live.
Today, Valeri will wake up in the city that’s adopted him as one of its own. He’ll eat breakfast with his wife, Florencia, sipping mate and chatting until it’s time to take their 8-year-old daughter Connie to school. From there, he’ll head to the Timbers training facility to continue recovering from the hip strain that kept him in Portland this weekend while his teammates gutted out a road draw in Dallas.
Lunch, if Valeri has his druthers, will be at Piazza Italia – his and Florencia’s favorite restaurant and a nod to his Italian heritage – followed by a quiet afternoon, perhaps reading or strumming his guitar, before picking up Connie and heading to the park to play soccer or taking a stroll around the city. They’ll have dinner together, perhaps a meal of Argentine asado with a few friends and teammates, then Valeri will tuck into bed and do it all over again.
“Everything you do has to be with love and respect,” Valeri often tells Connie. “Then you can do whatever you want."
So begins an excellent new feature on MLSsoccer.com by senior editor Andrew Wiebe that examines Valeri's love for Portland, both on and off the field. After arriving in the Rose City prior to the 2013 season, Valeri has put in deep roots in his adopted home and the story talks about the impact he's made in Portland as well as the impact the city has made on him.
Head to MLSsoccer.com to read the full piece.