PORTLAND, Ore. – The Portland Timbers announced today that the club has acquired Costa Rican central defender Julio Cascante via transfer from Costa Rican Primera Division side Deportiva Saprissa, utilizing Targeted Allocation Money for the transfer. Cascante will be added to the Timbers’ roster pending receipt of his International Transfer Certificate (ITC) and P-1 Visa.
A native of Puerto Limón, Costa Rica, Cascante, 24, joins Portland with 107 professional appearances (93 starts) since making his debut in the Costa Rica Primera Division with Orión FC in 2011.
“Julio is a young but experienced central defender already having played in over 100 professional matches,” said Gavin Wilkinson, general manager and president of soccer for the Timbers. “We have monitored his progress for over a year, and have targeted him to help strengthen our backline. Julio brings an intense focus and awareness to the game and possesses a number of characteristics we believe will help propel him to the next level in his career.”
Following his first professional campaign with Orión FC, Cascante spent three seasons (2013-2016) with Costa Rican first-division club C.F. Universidad de Costa Rica, before joining Deportiva Saprissa ahead of the 2016 Costa Rica Primera Division season. In the past two seasons with Saprissa, Cascante made 51 league appearances (43 starts), while also making five appearances (3 starts) in CONCACAF Champions League, including two starts against the Timbers, as Saprissa advanced to the quarterfinals in the 2016-17 iteration of the international competition.
Additionally, while playing with Saprissa, the central defender anchored a backline that helped the club capture its 33rd Primera Division championship, with Saprissa winning the 2016 Torneo de Invierno, after finishing as the runner-up for the 2016 Torneo de Verano title. During the 2017-18 Primera Divison season, Cascante made 17 appearances (16 starts) for Saprissa, with the center back ranking among the team leaders for goals scored (6). Cascante last scored in the team’s dramatic 4-3 win against CS Cartaginés in league play, with the defender recording a brace in the win, including the game-winning finish in the 81st minute of play.
At the international level, Cascante has earned one cap for the senior team, featuring as a substitute in a friendly fixture against Nicaragua on Dec. 15, 2015. He made three appearances for the Costa Rica U-23 team.
Cascante will occupy an international slot on the Timbers roster.
Transaction: Portland Timbers sign defender Julio Cascante on Jan. 2, 2018
Born: Oct. 3, 1993, in Puerto Limón, Costa Rica
Last Club: Deportivo Saprissa
Citizenship: Costa Rica
Acquired: Signed on Jan. 2, 2018