Timber Joey Leads the Way
The Major League Soccer season is in full swing and the Portland Timbers have clawed their way out of the cellar of the Western Conference after putting together a string of consistent defensive performances.
In addition to not having a last place squad, there are five other reasons why we love Portland Timbers soccer.
There is no doubt where the Rose Garden Arena arena is in America during the winter months, but the passion of Blazermaniacs does not match the fury and hooliganism found inside the hearts of Jeld-Wen Field’s Timbers Army.
Their knowledge and intensity for the game is on par with any home crowd across the pond.
There are very few thrills as when Timber Joey, a chainsaw wielding cheerleader, hacks into wood after a home goal. The Timbers Army provides the best soccer atmosphere in America. Just ask them.
There is no man that symbolizes the greatness of the local soccer culture and the Portland Timbers franchise more than the late Clive Charles.
With a boyish grin and an effervescent love of life, Charles became one of Portland’s most revered athletes own despite growing up in the streets of East London.
The Englishman played in his native country for West Ham United (1970-73) but established continental fame through his brilliant play with another NASL franchise, the Montreal Olympique (71-72) while on loan.
He continued in England with Cardiff City (74-77) before ultimately making his home and 67 appearances for Portland (78-81) near the end of the decade.
After his playing days ended, Charles gained notoriety by taking over the University Of Portland’s men (1986-2002) and women’s teams (1989-2002) until losing a battle with prostate cancer in August of 2003.
In his tenure, he produced some of the most decorated U.S. national team players including Kasey Keller, Steve Cherundolo, Tiffeny Milbrett and Shannon MacMillan and won a NCAA title in his final season with the women’s squad in 2002.
His number three hangs in the rafters of Jeld-Wen Field.
Henry Merritt Paulson, III
Perhaps no soccer executive in Major League Soccer has as loyal of a fan base as the Portland Timbers owner.
Paulson, the son of U.S. Treasurer Henry Paulson, has embraced the city in ways that Paul Allen has yet to do in 25 years as owner of the Portland Trail Blazers, giving love to food carts and local celebrities alike.
Paulson’s youthful experience and ability to effectively rally ungrudgingly stubborn leaders in a politically gridlocked city has earned him the admiration of even non-soccer enthusiasts in Portland.
Paulson’s fingerprints have been all over the professional sports landscape in Northwest Portland. He once simultaneously owned the Pacific Coast League’s triple-A San Diego Padres affiliate Portland Beavers before the franchise lost its financial viability in the area and relocated south to Tucson.
The Cascadia Cup
That is until the Timbers joined Major League Soccer in 2011.
The men in green and white (and the occasional alternate red), provide the city of Portland some ammunition for geographical trash talk.
If Portland can’t hang with Steve Nash on the hardwood, at least the Timbers can do it on the pitch.
In no other sport are leagues more relevant to other nations than soccer.
Fans of the sport can rattle the names of an assortment of leagues across the globe such as England’s Barclay’s Premier League, Spain’s La Liga, and Germany’s Bundesliga.
As the talent within Major League Soccer strengthens, America’s league will gain prominence throughout the world. In time, Portlanders can aspire to have their Timbers mentioned in the same breath as some of the legendary teams throughout the world.