Portland Timbers Tryouts

The Portland Timbers are an American professional men’s soccer club based in Portland, Oregon. The Timbers compete in Major League Soccer (MLS) as a member club of the league’s Western Conference.

Portland Timbers Youth Development System

The Portland Timbers and Oregon Youth Soccer Association (OYSA) have a new integrated and innovative youth development program, which has become the foundation of the state’s Olympic Development Program (ODP) and the Portland Timbers of MLS’ youth academy. The program provides elite youth players advanced training and competitive opportunities throughout Oregon.

The collaborative program between the Timbers and OYSA provides the state with a nationally recognized boy’s and girl’s ODP program as well as a top-flight academy system to develop home-grown talent. The new program is designed to coexist with youth clubs and share in player development, allowing players to stay connected to their local clubs.

Overseeing the Timbers youth programs are Youth Sporting Director Mike Smith and Timbers Academy Technical Director Larry Sunderland. The Timbers Academy frequently asked questions (FAQ) can be found below.

One of the new major components of the ODP program is the establishment of six regional training centers, which are organized and managed by the Timbers and OYSA. The training centers are located in the cities of Beaverton, Bend, Eugene/Salem, Gresham, Medford and Vancouver, Wash. Starting each fall, each center targets elite male players in the U-12 to U-15 age groups in each area. From these training centers, a pool of players are chosen to form a state ODP team at the various age levels for regional and national competitions. This program enables the Timbers and OYSA to aid in player development in conjunction with local clubs.

Timbers Academy teams are formed at the U-14, U-16 and U-18 age groups, and compete in U.S. Soccer Developmental Academy leagues. Led by club-endorsed coaches, the Timbers Academy system identifies and develops the top youth players in the state at these age levels and provides direct exposure to U.S. National Team coaches. The formation of the Timbers Academy teams will occurred in the late Spring of 2012.

The pinnacle of the Timbers Academy system is the club’s top development team, the Portland Timbers U-23s, which competes in United Soccer Leagues’ Premier Development League (PDL).

What is the mission of the Portland Timbers Academy?

As an organization, the Portland Timbers are committed to youth development. Our Academy program provides a professional environment pushing players to learn and elevate their game on a daily basis. Our goal as an MLS Academy is to develop professional players. Along the way, players will be provided the rarest of opportunities
and be exposed to the highest levels of competition. The many who don’t make the professional ranks are often awarded scholarships to top universities. In addition to these opportunities, our program is focused on developing character traits that will help guide players toward a successful career in whatever they may pursue.

How much does the Portland Timbers Academy cost?

The Timbers Academy spend in the range of $10,000-$15,000 per player per year. These costs include training gear, field usage, coaching, and all costs of travel. The program is considered fully funded with the exception of a $500 bond given by each player at the beginning of the year. There may be additional costs for unforeseen circumstances, but will be optional

How to tryout for Portland Timbers?

Beginning in 2019, the Timbers Academy will no longer operate tryouts as typically recognized in the youth soccer market. It is the position of the Timbers Academy that ongoing identification and evaluation is a far more productive and valuable method of finding top talent in our territory.

Regular scouting of key age groups is, and has already been taking place. Over the next few months, Timbers Academy Staff will be collaborating with youth club DOC’s regarding players who have been identified by our scouts and recommended for training/evaluation opportunities. Our goal is to provide an evaluation that will lead to selection and inclusion in the Timbers Academy.

Timbers Academy staff has already started the process and have had ongoing communication with numerous youth clubs in our area. Regular scouting of key age groups has taken place and will continue. Youth club players have been training alongside Timbers Academy players and the evaluation process is ongoing. DOC’s please let the Academy Staff know if you believe you have a special player. We will market each full time player and the club that they came from. In addition, if you as a player, would like and think that you are deserve a tryout, please contact your club DOC for a recommendation.

Below is an outline of the process Timbers Academy Staff will follow when identifying and offering a player a training/evaluation opportunity:

  1. Player identified through Academy scouting or club recommendation.
  2. Academy staff communication to youth club DOC/Coaches requesting player availability for training/evaluation with the Timbers Academy.
  3. Academy Staff/Youth Club DOC/Player work collaboratively to secure dates for training/evaluation with the Timbers Academy.
  4. Communication throughout the process between Academy Staff and youth club DOC.

What is the overall Academy commitment timeframe?

The Portland Timbers Academy season runs 10 months of the year. Typically, the players get the month of July and most of December off. Over the other 10 months, Timbers Academy players are expected to take advantage of an elite player development environment in order to excel not just as an individual, but as a team. Every day
must be looked at as a day to improve or the opportunity being presented is wasted.

The Academy typically train 4 times a week with games on the weekend. There are lifting sessions, training sessions, individualized training and video at different times throughout the week. Each player will undergo physical development tests in order to minimize overtraining and injury. These physical results are built into our annual periodization model. Most games are over weekends with several weekends having double fixtures. There are also several weekends the players will have free.

Portland Timbers Camps

To learn more about upcoming camps, please click here.

Portland Timbers Alliance Clubs

Adidas Portland Timbers Alliance Clubs

What is the adidas Portland Timbers Alliance?
The alliance is a strategic partnership with elite local youth clubs in the Portland Timbers’ development territory, designed to build unique working relationships and development opportunities to help channel the top youth players towards the Timbers’ development programs and the Timbers Academy.

As part of the alliance, the Timbers share coaching resources and curriculum with alliance clubs in the development of both boys and girls youth players. Additionally, youth clubs in the alliance will be allowed the unique privilege of incorporating the Timbers brand into their club name and wear a special adidas Timbers Alliance badge as part of the uniform. On the field, each alliance club will wear the same color jerseys – red and white – in recognition of the partnership with the Timbers.

Youth players from across the Timbers development territory, not just affiliated with an adidas Timbers Alliance club, all have the opportunity to try out for a Timbers Academy team or a place in one of the Regional Training Centers throughout the state as well as the Olympic Development Program.

Who are the Alliance Clubs?

Alaska Timbers & Thorns

Albuquerque United Timbers & Thorns

Bend FC Timbers

Billings United Timbers & Thorns

Boise Timbers & Thorns

Capital FC Timbers

Eastside Timbers & Thorns

Eugene Timbers FC

Las Cruces Timbers & Thorns

Missouri Thorns

North Timbers & Thorns

Rogue Valley Timbers

Washington Timbers

Westside Timbers

Learn more about the adidas Portland Timbers Alliance at www.timbersalliance.com.

Portland Timbers Affiliates

Portland Thorns Development Academy

The Portland Thorns Academy is an elite training program for girls and young women.

The Head Coaching Staff for the Portland Thorns Academy are all A or B licensed coaches.

The difference between the Portland Thorns Academy and other programs is our holistic approach to player development and integration of attributes of the Portland Thorns FC to the training of these young athletes. The Thorns Academy will have direct interaction with the Portland Thorns FC, which includes opportunities to observe their training, interaction with players, observation by First Team coaching staff, and tickets to Portland Thorns FC home games.

Integrated into player development will be nutrition, sports psychology, strength conditioning, speed and agility, overall fitness, and increased training.

The goal for all Portland Thorns Academy and Pre-Academy youth players is to reach their peak performance as elite, well rounded athletes. The focus will be on giving players the opportunity to earn collegiate scholarship offers, national team invites, and the chance to be drafted into the NWSL. In the 2019/2020 season alone, three Portland Thorns Academy players received invitations to National Camps.

To learn more about the Portland Thorns, please click here.

Portland Timbers II

To learn more about the Portland Timbers II, please click here.

Portland Timbers Recruitment Trials

At the time of this writing, there is an official trial form for the Portland Timbers. Please click here to visit their official web page for the trials. (Link active: update April 2022)


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Portland Timbers Overview

Located in Portland, Oregon, the Portland Timbers are an American professional soccer team. The Portland Timbers are a member of MLS’s Western Conference and play in the league’s regular season. In 2011 the Timbers became the first expansion team in the league to play their home games at Providence Park.

As a result of Portland’s inclusion in Major League Soccer in 2009, the Portland Timbers were born. When Peregrine Sports was founded in 2007, it purchased the then-USL Pro Portland Thorns in 2007 and launched the Portland Thorns women’s squad in 2012, under the majority ownership of Merrit Paulson.

When the team joined the North American Soccer League in 1975, it was the fourth Portland-based soccer franchise to carry the Timbers name, which was first used by the founding squad. In 2013, the Timbers won the Western Conference regular season title and qualified for the CONCACAF Champions League for the first time. In 2015, the squad made it to the MLS Cup Finals for the first time as the first team from the Cascadia region to win the Western Conference Finals. The team finished the regular season in the Western Conference’s top spot again in 2017.

The Portland Timbers made it to the MLS Cup in 2018, where they fell 2–0 to Atlanta United FC in the finals of the playoffs after eliminating archrival Seattle in the semi-finals. By winning the MLS is Back Tournament that year, the Timbers were able to qualify for the Champions League for the second consecutive year. A fierce rivalry exists in the Portland area between local clubs Seattle Sounders and Vancouver Whitecaps FC. The Timbers Army is the name given to the group of fans who support the team.

History

Soccer roots in Portland

It is possible to trace the origins of soccer in Portland, Oregon, all the way back to the NASL expansion team that participated there until the club’s eighth season in 1982. After winning the league’s division final and finishing second in the Soccer Bowl ’75 title match, the club’s most notable accomplishment came during their first season in the league’s playoffs. Founded in 1985 as a founding member of the Western Soccer Alliance League, F.C. Portland played until their dissolution in 1990. The city had no professional soccer team until the USL Timbers were created in 2001 and competed in the USL pro Division 2 until the club disbanded in 2010. In the regular seasons of 2004 and 2009, the USL team had the best record in the league.

After a nearly two-year journey, Merritt Paulson announced the Timbers’ admission into the Major League Soccer (MLS). The journey began in May 2007 when Paulson led a group that purchased the Portland Beavers and the USL Timbers. Henry Paulson, Meritt Paulson’s father, was part of the group. Portland’s major problem at the time was that a new stadium would be needed to host an MLS team due to league concerns over seating layout, field surface, and scheduling.

A new 8,000 to 9,000-seat baseball stadium (PGE Park) would cost roughly $30 million in October 2007, according to Paulson in October 2007. Portland taxpayers would invest $85 million on a new baseball stadium for Paulson and the renovation of PGE Park, which was rebuilt in 2001 at a cost of $38.5 million to the taxpayers, to host soccer, and in return, he would pay $40 million for the franchise price to bring an MLS team to Portland. MLS endorsed the plan because it wanted to keep increasing the number of league owners (for a while, all of its teams were owned by three men: Philip Anschutz, Lamar Hunt, and Robert Kraft). Even though Mayor Sam Adams and the Portland City Council had a number of concerns about supporting the acquisition of an MLS franchise, Commissioner Don Garber announced on March 20, 2009 that the Timbers would be the league’s 18th team.

Basketball fans in Portland, Oregon, were given a heads-up during the NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament first and second-round games. The team’s name will be known as the Portland Timbers, according to the release. John Spencer, a former forward and assistant coach with the Colorado Rapids, was introduced as the Timbers’ first head coach on August 10, 2010. Gavin Wilkinson, the former head coach of the USL-1/USSF D-2 Timbers, was also promoted to the position of general manager/technical director of the organization.

Before the MLS Expansion Draft on November 24, 2010, the Portland Timbers signed five players. Timbers D-2 Pro League players Steve Cronin, Bright Dike, and Ryan Pore all joined the team in 2010, as did attacker Eddie Johnson, who was acquired via trade from Austin Aztex of the D-2 Pro League (midfielder Jeremy Hall). The Timbers and the Vancouver Whitecaps FC, the other 2011 expansion team, participated in an MLS Expansion Draft on November 24, 2010, when each team selected ten players from current teams. D.C. United acquired defender Rodney Wallace from FC Dallas in exchange for the Timbers’ first-round pick (midfielder Dax McCarty). 2011 MLS SuperDraft participants Portland Timbers and Vancouver Whitecaps each had the first and second picks, respectively, on January 13, 2011. Omar Salgado’s selection by Vancouver surprised several, but Portland quickly selected Akron’s Darlington Nagbe.

First seasons (2011–2012)

On March 19, 2011, the Timbers took on the reigning MLS champion Colorado Rapids in their debut MLS match, which they ultimately lost 3–1. Kenny Cooper scored the first goal for the Timbers in the MLS era. The Portland Timbers finished sixth in the Western Conference and 12th overall in their inaugural season.

After a 0–3 loss to Real Salt Lake on July 9, 2012, John Spencer was sacked. For the remainder of the season, Gavin Wilkinson served as the team’s acting head coach. With an 8-9-9 record in the Western Conference, the Timbers completed 2012 as the league’s third-worst team. For the first time in MLS, they won the Cascadia Cup.

Caleb Porter era (2013–2017)

This year’s team was led by new head coach Caleb Porter, a former U-23 coach for the United States and men’s basketball coach of the University of Akron Zips from 2006 to 2012. The Timbers had an immediate impact in the 2013 MLS regular season thanks to Porter’s leadership. Despite winning the Western Conference, they were only able to finish third overall in the MLS. Diego Valeri, a loaned player from Club Atlético Lans with an option to buy, has been a key player for the Portland Timbers this season (which they exercised later in the season).

The club made it to the semifinals of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup event in 2013 before losing to Real Salt Lake. The Timbers also made their first-ever trip to the MLS Playoffs. In the conference semifinals, they defeated the Seattle Sounders FC by a score of 5–3 on aggregate. Once again, the Timbers were defeated in the conference finals after going down to Real Salt Lake in a two-game series (5–2 overall). The Portland Timbers qualified for the 2014–15 CONCACAF Champions League, their first foreign event, thanks to a change made by the United States Soccer Federation regarding how American-based MLS teams can qualify for the CONCACAF Champions League. The Portland Timbers were unable to repeat their success of the previous season in the 2014 MLS season. They had a 1-3–6 (W-L-D) record in their first ten games of the season on defense.

Late in the season, they mounted a comeback, still having a chance to appear in the MLS playoffs on the last weekend, but they ultimately failed to qualify. The Portland Timbers finished the season in 11th place in the Western Conference and 6th in the overall league standings. Group stage of the 2014–15 CONCACAF Champions League saw the Portland Timbers face Club Deportivo Olimpia and Alpha United. They were knocked out of the group stage by goals scored by the opposition. When it came to the offseason, Portland’s major goal was to prevent a sluggish start like the one they had in 2014 due to the absence of Diego Valeri and Will Johnson, who were both injured in the last games of the previous season. Nat Borchers, formerly of Real Salt Lake, and Ghanaian/Norwegian goalkeeper Adam Larsen Kwarasey were both signed in the offseason.

MLS Cup champions (2015)

The Timbers celebrated their forty-fifth anniversary as a club in the North American Soccer League and their fifth anniversary as an MLS team in the 2015 season. Because Diego Valeri and Will Johnson were still nursing injuries from the previous season, the Timbers were unable to begin the 2015 season. Later in the season, they would return. In the fourth round of the 2015 US Open Cup, Portland was faced against arch-rival Seattle, who were eliminated 3–1 in overtime after losing three players (including Clint Dempsey) to red cards, and Obafemi Martins was forced to leave with a groin injury.

Real Salt Lake would overcome Portland in the fifth round of the playoffs. Despite a fiercely competitive Western Conference, Portland Timbers once again qualified for the MLS Playoffs thanks to a 5–2 triumph against LA Galaxy in the final games of the regular season. This season, Portland concluded the regular season a respectable fifth place in the Western Conference.

Sporting Kansas City and Portland Timbers met in the last round of the MLS playoffs, and the game went to penalties after Sporting’s Kevin Ellis scored a late goal to draw the game at 1–1. Late in overtime, Maxi Urruti equalized for Sporting with a goal after Kristen Nemeth had given the hosts the lead in the 97th minute. Kwarasey scored the game-winning goal and saved the game-winning penalty kick in the nail-biting penalty shootout.

The Timbers advanced to the Conference Semifinals by defeating the Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2–0 in the second game of their two-game series. With a 3-1 triumph at home and a 2–2 draw in the second match in Toyota Park, Portland became Western Conference champions and advanced to their first-ever MLS Cup appearance by defeating FC Dallas 5–3 on aggregate. A Diego Valeri volley and a Rodney Wallace header gave the Timbers a 2–1 victory over the Columbus Crew SC in the 2015 MLS Cup final. The Portland Timbers held on to win their first MLS Cup, becoming the first team in the Cascadia rivalry to win the trophy, despite losing a goal from Columbus striker Kei Kamara.

Following seasons (2016–17)

Jorge Villafaa, Will Johnson, Maxi Urruti, and Rodney Wallace all left Portland in the offseason. Rematch victory over Columbus Crew SC marked the Timbers’ start to the season as defending champions. Overall, head coach Caleb Porter summarized Portland’s 2016 season as “A tale of two seasons. ” There were numerous injuries to important players throughout the season and a lack of consistency in the team’s performance at home.

The Timbers finished the season with a road record of 0–11–6 and a record of 12–14–8 (44 points) away from Providence Park. In 2017, the club prioritized strengthening the defense and bolstering the midfield, both of which had been issues the previous year. C.D. Saprissa traded Roy Miller and David Guzmán to Portland, who picked them up. There were no new contracts for Nat Borchers, when he was injured in 2016, and the experienced defender opted to hang up his boots. Sebastián Blanco, a former teammate of Valeri’s at Lans, was also signed by the Timbers from San Lorenzo. The Portland Timbers also signed Kayserispor defender Larrys Mabiala in the middle of the season.

In the second half of the season, Valeri set a new MLS record by scoring in nine straight games. Portland qualified for the playoffs for the second time this season with a 4–0 win over D.C. United in their last regular season match. This season, Portland Timbers were crowned Cascadia Cup winners for the second time as an MLS team. The Portland Trail Blazers were knocked out of the Western Conference Semifinals by the Houston Dynamo. A Timbers player got the Landon Donovan MVP award for the first time; Valeri has the most goals scored by a midfielder in MLS history with 20+ goals and 10+ assists. On November 16, 2017, Caleb Porter announced his resignation as head coach of the team, effectively ending his tenure with the organization.

Giovanni Savarese era (2018–present)

After announcing Giovanni Savarese as the team’s new head coach on December 18, the Timbers made history by appointing the former New York Cosmos coach as the Timbers’ third non-interim coach since their MLS debut. Savaraese and the Timbers finished strong in 2018, despite starting the season without a win in their first five games. On December 8, 2018, they earned their second trip to the MLS Cup, where they were defeated 2–0 by Atlanta United.

Then, Now, Forever (2019)

Overshadowed by the restoration of Providence Park, which resulted in the addition of 4,000 seats on the east side of the stadium, the 2019 season Due to the lengthy building period, the Timbers were forced to play their first 12 games away from home. A 4–6–2 record was the team’s final tally after a lengthy road trip. In their remaining home games, Portland would generally fail to improve. The Timbers concluded the regular season sixth in the Western Conference with 49 points. Their next playoff match was a 2–1 loss to Real Salt Lake in Salt Lake City.

MLS is Back Tournament Champions (2020)

In the first two games of the 2020 MLS season, the Portland Timbers lost at home to Minnesota United FC and beat MLS new team Nashville SC. The season was halted on March 12, 2020, because to the COVID-19 epidemic in North America. After months of speculation, MLS announced on June 10 that the “MLS Is Back Tournament” will begin on July 8 and culminate on August 11, with the final taking place on August 11. With LAFC, LA Galaxy, and Houston Dynamo all in the same group, it was called the “Group of Death” by the media when the competition began. While playing most of their reserves, Portland Timbers drew 2–2 with LAFC to finish top of their group and secure their place in the second round of the Concacaf Champions League in the process.

Portland Timbers forward Jeremy Ebobisse (17) celebrates after scoring a goal during the second half of the team’s MLS soccer match against the LA Galaxy, Monday, July 13, 2020, in Kissimmee, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack) AP

Portland was leading FC Cincinnati in the Round of 16 when goalie Steve Clark made a crucial error, resulting in a stalemate and extra time. Portland advanced to the next round of knockout games thanks to Clark’s heroics in the shootout. In the quarterfinals, Portland was down 1-0 at halftime against New York City FC before scoring three times in the second half to run away with a 3–1 victory, which was completed off by a fantastic free kick from Andy Polo. The Timbers then faced the Philadelphia Union in the semifinals, where they prevailed 2–1 thanks to goals from Jeremy Ebobisse and Sebastián Blanco and their first trip to the MLS Cup finals since 2018. Portland City’s Larrys Mabiala scored a diving header in the 27th minute off a ball from Diego Valeri to open the scoring in the MLS is Back Tournament title game versus Orlando City, Portland’s home club. MLS is Back Tournament champions Portland Timbers under manager Giovanni Savarese defeated Orlando City SC 1–2 in the 39th and 66th minutes, respectively. Portland defender Dario upari scored the game-winning goal in the 66th minute, and Portland’s defense held on for the 2–1 victory.

Colors and Badge

The MLS logo for the Portland Timbers contains aspects from the team’s previous USL branding. The circular shape of the original crest serves as a prominent reminder of the ideals of wholeness and perfection. Using an axe to chop down trees is a nod to the logging business in the Pacific Northwest, where axes were widely utilized. In order to represent the Timbers’ affiliation with the original North American Soccer League, United Soccer Leagues, and Major League Soccer, three chevrons have been arranged to resemble a pine tree. The ponderosa and moss green of the team’s uniforms depict the forests of Oregon.

Stadium

They share Providence Park with the NWSL’s Portland Thorns, where they play their home games on Sundays. The Multnomah Athletic Club, which built Providence Park in 1926 and still has a southern border on the stadium, has owned the land since 1893 and has used it as a stadium since 1926. Major League Soccer’s Providence Park is the oldest soccer-specific stadium in the league and one of the most historic grounds used by any American professional soccer team. With the Soccer Bowl ’77 and the FIFA Women’s World Cups in 1999 and 2003 among its notable past events, the stadium has also hosted the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup, the 2014 MLS All-Star Game, and the 2015 NWSL Championship Game. Since 1975, Portland Timbers matches have been held at Providence Park, the club’s longtime home. To get the stadium ready for the 2011 Major League Soccer season, the Portland City Council approved a $31 million upgrade in July 2009. This included rearranging the grounds largely to accommodate men’s and women’s soccer. The 2011 MLS season had a capacity of 18,627, whereas the 2012 season had a capacity of 20,323.

On February 10, 2014, the Portland Timbers and Providence Health & Services, a non-profit health care company, inked a long-term stadium naming rights sponsorship agreement. Providence Park will remain the name of the stadium until at least 2028. The Portland City Council voted in December 2017 to authorize the development of a $85 million expansion project to boost Providence Park’s seating capacity. 4,000 new seats were added to the over 22,000 that had previously been constructed as part of the project, which had its terms approved as early as June of the same year.

The Timbers had a season ticket waiting list of around 13,000 prior to the stadium proposal being finalized. While the original 1926 plans for Multnomah Field were never completed, the new redesigned steel stand was influenced by both the famed La Bombonera stadium in Boca Juniors and Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre’s traditional raised stage, producing an unusual layered appearance. “SC USA” is spelled out across the East End benches in white lettering, a tribute to Portland’s heritage as “Soccer City USA”.

On July 1, 2019, the Timbers hosted LAFC in the first game at the expanded Providence Park, which sold out its 25,218-seat capacity. As a result of the renovations, Providence Park now has the 4th-highest capacity of any MLS stadium dedicated to soccer. In addition to the improved LED lighting, the makeover included the construction of three new seating levels, two new video boards, and a modern edge-to-edge roof.

Club Culture

Supporters

Since joining the Major League Soccer (MLS) in 2011, the Timbers have sold out every home game. More than 10,000 people are on the Timbers’ season-ticket waiting list; this number is bigger than that of most college football teams. The Timbers Army is the Portland Timbers’ primary fan group. Its supporters are well-known for their noisy, ardent support of the Timbers and for their radical political views. There is no shortage of praise for the Timbers Army in the American media, which frequently names it as one of the greatest or even the top fan bases in the country.

To honor the Cascade Range of mountains in North America, the Timbers Army was formerly known as the Cascade Rangers in 2001. Section 107 (“The Woodshed”) of PGE Park (“The Piggy”) was transformed into a European-style fan zone, complete with drums, banners, scarves, smoke bombs, and nonstop screaming and cheering in support of the club’s home games. To avoid any implication of favoritism toward Scottish soccer team Rangers, the group renamed itself the Timbers Army in 2002. This was due to the Timbers’ outfits eerily resembling Celtic’s.

More than 4,000 Timbers fans attended Timbers games in the north end by 2012. As a result of a dispute with the MLS over Timbers fans’ usage of the Iron Front logo on their banner, the Timbers Army garnered national attention in 2019. It was determined that the Army’s opposition to fascism, racism, and sexual harassment was not political, thus the MLS decided to outlaw all “political signs,” including the anti-fascist insignia. Protests against the MLS and the Army have been going on for a while, culminating in an August game against Seattle in which the TA purposefully remained silent for the opening 33 minutes of the nationally broadcast fight to commemorate 1933, the year when the Iron Front was disbanded in Nazi Germany.

Major League Soccer executives indicated that they would meet with the Timbers Army and other fan groups in the league after media attention was drawn to the protests. September 24, 2019, the league said it would reverse its ban and allow supporters of the Timbers to utilize the Iron Front once more, on September 24, 2019. For the first time in Major League Soccer history, a fan group went up against the league and forced a policy change, which is extremely rare in American sports.

Rivalries

The Timbers, Seattle Sounders, and Vancouver Whitecaps compete for the Cascadia Cup, a trophy and a rivalry in the Cascadia soccer bioregion. In the 1970s, Portland, Seattle, and Vancouver were rivals in the NASL, and from 2001 to 2008, they were all together in the USL. This trophy, which is awarded annually to the Pacific Northwest three-team rivalry’s greatest head-to-head record, was developed in 2004 by fans of each club. In 2011, the Cup was relocated to the Major League Soccer (MLS) to honor the return of all three teams to the same league. In 2009, 2010, 2012, and 2017, Portland has won the Cup. In 2015, Portland became the first Cascadia-based team to win the MLS Cup.

Seattle Sounders

There is a long-standing rivalry between the Portland Timbers and Seattle Sounders FC that dates back to the North American Soccer League’s first season in 1975. The Portland Timbers–Seattle Sounders rivalry was resurrected in 2011 when Portland joined MLS as an expansion team following a 35-year run in the North American Soccer League and the USL First Division.

As the two cities are only a short distance apart, traveling fans of both teams are subjected to hostile circumstances at the opposing stadium when they visit. The Seattle–Portland rivalry, according to many players, is one of the few true derbies in American soccer.

Several sources have described this rivalry as one of the most fierce in not only MLS but North American soccer as a whole. Portland’s first-ever MLS postseason matchup with archrivals Seattle raised the stakes in their Seattle-Portland rivalry to new heights in the 2013 MLS playoffs. Another two-game Western Conference Semifinals series pitted Portland against Seattle, this time forcing a dramatic tie on aggregate in extra time in Seattle and progressing to the Conference Finals on penalty kicks.

Vancouver Whitecaps

One of the three Cascadian teams from NASL and USL, Vancouver Whitecaps FC, moved to MLS in 2011 together with Portland. The Cascadia Cup pits them against Portland and Seattle. In the original North American Soccer League, Portland and Vancouver’s rivalry stretches back to 1975. Portland-Vancouver is regarded as “friendlier” on the pitch and in the stands than Portland-Seattle. Even after Vancouver eliminated Portland from the 2010 USL Playoffs as a result of their shared relocation to Major League Soccer the following year, members of both clubs’ fan bases celebrated together.

Because Portland and Seattle are closer geographically, and Vancouver hasn’t had as much success in the MLS as the other two Cascadia clubs, the rivalry between the two cities is less strong for the time being. While the Whitecaps and other Canadian clubs have rivals, many Whitecaps players consider the Timbers to be their most significant competition. Portland has a 12–7–7 W-D-L edge over Vancouver in MLS play as of 2020. The Portland Timbers beat Vancouver 2–0 on aggregate in the Western Conference semifinals of the 2015 MLS Cup.

Other teams

Since the beginning of the MLS era, Portland supporters have always had a deep animosity toward Los Angeles-based teams, and that has not changed. MLS writer Brian Taylor described the encounter between Portland and LAFC as a “new rivalry” after their 2018 US Open Cup showdown and their 2019 matchup at the redesigned Providence Park. “I love to play those games versus LAFC and the LA Galaxy,” Timbers player Sebastian Blanco stated in a January 2020 interview with Sports Illustrated. Portland drew both LAFC and LA Galaxy in the group stage of the 2020 MLS Is Back Tournament, where they overcame the Galaxy and rallied from behind to draw with LAFC on their way to capturing the trophy.

Mascot

It was Timber Jim the lumberjack who served as the team mascot during its time in the NASL and USL. Jim made his retirement plans public on January 24th, 2008. On April 17, 2008, the Portland Timbers beat the Puerto Rico Islanders 1–0 in his final game before retiring.

Timber Joey has been the Timbers’ unofficial mascot since then, and was formally launched as the team’s official mascot at an exhibition game against Juventus Primavera on June 14, 2008, which the Timbers won 1–0. Every time the Timbers score a goal, Joey follows Jim’s tradition of cutting a round (or “cookie”) off a huge log with a chainsaw. During the game, the winning player receives this round. A round is awarded to the goalkeeper if his or her team manages a shutout. Timber Leatherman, a Portland-based outdoor tool business, sponsors Joey’s personalized jersey.

City of Portland, Oregon

Multnomah County is the largest and most populated city in Oregon, and Portland is its capital. For more than a century it has served as a key port of entry for goods and services to and from Oregon and Washington. On the West Coast, Portland is the sixth-largest city with a population of 654,741, making it the 26th largest in the United States. Portland is the second-largest in the Pacific Northwest with a population of 654,741. The Portland metropolitan statistical area (MSA) has a population of around 2.4 million people, making it the 25th most populous in the United States. With a population of almost 3.2 million, its CSA is the 19th-largest in the country. About 60% of Oregon’s population lives in the Portland metropolitan area.