A busy summer awaits for Jurgen Klinsmann and his USMNT squad as they'll have key World Cup qualifiers in June followed by the CONCACAF Gold Cup in July.
Portland will host two group stage matches in a double header on July 9 with US vs. Belize and Costa Rica against Cuba. Who Klinsmann will bring to Portland has been a big discussion but there's at least one name that has surfaced: Bolton's Stuart Holden.
The ex-Houston Dynamo midfielder became a key player in the EPL before a series of injuries tripped him up. Now on the comeback with a number of appearances on loan with Sheffield Wednesday, Klinsmann said of Holden, "I spoke to his coach at Bolton, and spoke to his coach at Sheffield Wednesday where he played some very important minutes and games while on loan. He’s on his way back. That being said, we want to have him back in our picture. We are going to bring him for the May-June camp, and also for the Gold Cup.”
Read more about the story over at ussoccer.com, watch video on Holden's inspiring comeback below, listen to SI's Grant Wahl talk about what to expect with this summer's Gold Cup and then get tickets for the Gold Cup showdown at JELD-WEN Field.
Last week we shared Jared Montz’s journey across the country, and more specifically about his time in Portland. The former Chicago Fire teammate of Will Johnson is raising funds and awareness for the OSA World Juggle-a-thon and Nothing But Nets.
Since then, Jared has completed his tour and and shared the final video, which includes several Timbers and Thorns players.
Today is World Malaria Day, which means today is the Juggle-a-thon. If you didn’t see Jared’s story, you can catch up here.
It’s also not too late to donate, which you can do here.
Sunday's Portland Thorns FC home opener was memorable for many reasons.
There was the 2-1 win over the Seattle Reign FC.
And then, of course, there was THE HAIR. Hear goalkeeper Karina LeBlanc talk about her special edition 'do for the first ever Thorns home opener:
Want more Karina LeBlanc? Vancouver B.C.'s The Province, fresh from their great profile of fellow Canadian Christine Sinclair, does an excellent feature on LeBlanc's arrival in Portland and her deep commitment to the UNICEF Sports Ambassador program. Read it here.
Portland Thorns FC forward Christine Sinclair is The Equalizer’s National Women’s Soccer League Week 2 Player of the Week as voted on by the editors of the site.
The former University of Portland star and current Canadian national teamer earned a point on Sunday after she played a sensational ball to forward Alex Morgan, who netted the game-winning goal in the 52nd minute of a 2-1 win over Seattle Reign FC.
When asked about her role as more of an attacking midfielder against Seattle, Sinclair told The Equalizer, "It was an adjustment on my part; more feeding the forwards instead of being the one receiving the ball."
Sinclair, who scored Thorns FC first franchise goal in the season opener at Kansas City, now leads the NWSL in points (3).
For the full story, visit The Equalizer.
One of the most beautiful things about soccer is its ability to unite people around the world, whether it’s behind a team, a nation, or in this case, a cause.
Former professional soccer player Jared Montz believes that part of being a pro is giving back to your community. He started the Online Soccer Academy to provide free online resources and training to soccer players around the world.
This year, the Online Soccer Academy is putting on their 3rd annual charity event called the OSA World Juggle-a-thon to raise money for Nothing But Nets. On April 25, World Malaria Day, players of all ages will juggle at 6pm their standard time anywhere in the word they have a ball. Jugglers try to beat their personal juggling records and in the process they raise money for Nothing But Nets.
Every 60 seconds a child in Africa dies from a malaria infection. With this in mind, the UN Foundation created Nothing But Nets in 2006 to raise money to provide African children with anti-malaria bed nets. The campaign was inspired by sports columnist Rick Reilly, who challenged each of his readers to donate at least $10 to purchase anti-malaria bed nets.
As part of the campaign, Jared Montz is Soccer Walking America. This 45 day, 15-city video series tour to raise awareness for the event included a stop in Portland, where Montz juggled with some of the Timbers and Thorns.
To become a juggler and fundraise, or to make a one time donation, please visit the OSA World Juggle-a-thon website.
Follow Jared Montz on Twitter to keep track of his tour.
Thorns FC teammates Alex Morgan and Rachel Buehler are currently with the U.S. national team in Holland preparing for their friendly with The Netherlands tomorrow. Training alongside them are FC Kansas City's Becky Sauerbrunn, Nicole Barnhart, and Lauren Cheney. Though they'll all be on the same side tomorrow, they'll be battling against each other on Saturday. Hear from each of them as they discuss the opcoming NWSL season opening match.
Thorns FC forward Alex Morgan scores on 100th birthday of U.S. Soccer; Christine Sinclair assists for Canada
On the U.S. Soccer Federation's 100th birthday, Thorns FC forward Alex Morgan and the U.S. Women's National Team had a bit of a crazy game against Germany this morning. Despite taking a 3-1 lead on goals by Abby Wambach (47th minute), Megan Rapinoe (55) and Morgan (71), Germany battled back with two late goals in the 85th and 86th minute in front of 16,090 fans in Offenbach, Germany. Second-half sub Sydney Leroux had a late effort saved off the line in one of the wilder games in recent U.S. WNT memory.
Morgan started and played the full 90 minutes for the United States, while Thorns FC defender Rachel Buehler was an unused substitute. Midfielder Tobin Heath, who will join Thorns FC this summer after playing out her contract with French side Paris Saint-Germain, entered the match in the 77th minute for Heather O'Reilly.
Morgan's goal in the 71st minute came off a long, curling pass over the top of Germany's defense from FC Kansas City midfielder Lauren Cheney.
On Thursday morning, Thorns FC forward Christine Sinclair and the Canada Women's National Team tangled with France in a rematch of the London 2012 Olympics bronze-medal match (which Canada won). Despite going down 1-0 during first-half stoppage time on a well-placed Elodie Thomis goal, Canada kept it close and struck late in second-half stoppage time.
Sinclair collected a deflected ball and slipped a pass right into the path of Kaylyn Kyle in the fourth-minute of second-half stoppage time and Kyle netted the equalizer for Canada in front of 5,783 fans at Stade du Ray in Nice, France. Thorns FC goalkeeper Karina LeBlanc was an unused sub for the match.
Canada is back in action on Sunday, April 7 at 7 a.m. (Pacific) against England at New York Stadium in Rotherham, England. The U.S. Women's National Team visits The Hague, Netherlands on Tuesday, April 9, for a 10 a.m. (PT) match against the Netherlands at Kyocera Stadium.
Even with their 2013 campaign under way, the Portland Timbers haven’t forgotten about the goals they scored in 2012.
The Timbers, along with Stand Together community pillar partner Friends of Trees, are gearing up to plant trees this Saturday as part of the club’s “Score a Goal, Plant a Tree” program, presented by JELD-WEN Windows & Doors.
From 9-10:30 AM on Saturday, March 30, Portland Timbers players Sal Zizzo and Brent Richards and mascot Timber Joey will join forces with volunteers and the Timbers Army in Happy Valley to plant trees along the banks of Rock Creek and its tributaries.
This is a great opportunity for Timbers fans and volunteers from the community to work side by side with Timbers players by planting trees together in an effort to help restore the banks of Rock Creek and protect the natural beauty of Oregon.
This volunteer restoration event is part of the Rock Creek Partnership with SOLVE and the Clackamas River Basin Council, led by Friends of Trees. Rock Creek is a tributary to the Clackamas River and supports numerous species of wildlife, including salmonoids.
Friends of Trees will provide breakfast snacks along with hot chocolate and coffee for those arriving before the 9:00 AM scheduled start. They also encourage volunteers to come dressed for the weather and wearing boots or sturdy shoes when joining them to plant trees.
"Communication, it's everything, on and off the field," Valeri says. "We go on the road and we can't learn. I want to start this month. I have coaching, an English teacher. She teaches me words and sentences, but I want to start. I want to watch films and read books. Only English."
If you want to learn more about what drives new Timbers midfielder Diego Valeri, why he came to MLS ("It's grown. I find a team, a club, MLS, that is spectacular"), how his family is settling into Portland (he's taken his four-year-old daughter, Constanza, to the zoo), how he's bonding with his teammates (he roomed with team captain Will Johnson in Tucson preseason), and how the Argentine is trying harder than ever to bring his English up to the same speed as his silky moves on the pitch (see above), then you must read this excellent feature by Brian Gjurgevich in this week's Portland Mercury. Grab a copy on your nearest street corner to save the artwork and read the piece online right here.