PORTLAND, Ore. – The Portland Timbers and Portland Thorns FC announced their Community MVP awards for the 2018 season at the annual Stand Together Banquet held Sunday evening at The Nines Hotel in downtown Portland. These awards were given to the individuals who made a significant impact in the community, committing their time and efforts through the clubs’ community platform, Stand Together.
Proceeds from the Stand Together Banquet will continue to help drive the Timbers’ and Thorns’ charitable initiatives that showcase their diverse community through the support of elementary education, youth activity and wellness, and environmental awareness.
Timbers Community MVP – Zarek Valentin
Defender Zarek Valentin, who becomes the first Timbers player to be honored twice as the team’s Community MVP, brought unparalleled positivity to the community efforts of the Timbers throughout the 2018 season. Among his many efforts off the field, Valentin brought laughter to pediatric patients at local children’s hospitals and took an active role in embracing a young boy from Iraq who had received treatment in Oregon 10 years ago after losing his left leg, on his return to Portland. Valentin helped fix up new homes for families in need with the Willamette West Habitat for Humanity during Stand Together Week and participated in the annual Rose City Road Trip with Providence Health & Services. In addition, he spearheaded the #RibbonZ campaign to support the New Avenues for Youth Sexual & Gender Minority Youth Resource Center and also joined in the birthday celebration for a young Thorns FC fan battling cancer.
Thorns FC Community MVP – Emily Menges
Defender Emily Menges was a compassionate and inspiring leader within the community for Thorns FC during the 2018 season. Notably, Menges led the way in welcoming #MightyMaryn, a young Thorns FC fan battling brain cancer, and her family to the team with a one-of-a-kind training and gameday experience in celebration of Maryn’s birthday. Menges helped maintain a healthy local environment during Stand Together Week, participating in projects with Willamette Riverkeeper and Friends of Trees. In addition, she helped brighten the days of the pediatric patients at local children’s hospitals and supported the development and fundraising efforts of the Bobby Menges “I’m Not Done Yet Foundation” to provide transitional care for youth and adolescents in their battles against cancer.