Spread The Love
As the regular season draws to a close, two more Spread the Love recipients were given the opportunity to experience a Timbers game at JELD-WEN Field.
Marlynn Schotland and her family were the recipients of the Spread the Love welcome packet for the September 29th game vs. the LA Galaxy. Pat Brown, who works at ROOT Sports directing Timbers telecasts, nominated Marlynn. Pat worked with both Marlynn and her husband several years ago at a local television station.
Marlynn says she and her family were thrilled to receive their welcome packet.
“We feel very, very lucky to have received this awesome packet of goodies, on top of the tickets,” said Marlynn. “The scarves are great and we can wear them all the time this winter.”
Marlynn was most excited to share the experience with her children.
“Our daughter just started playing youth soccer,” she explained, “and we were excited for her to see the pros play in person.”
The best part, according to Marlynn?
“The goal by [Maximiliano] Urruti! That was awesome! The energy was also amazing -- we were seated next to some die-hard Timbers fans who were so nice and made the game even more fun.”
Víctor Barreda Pazos and his family received a Spread the Love welcome packet from Karen Willoughby, Director of Coaching at Hollywood Soccer Club. Karen coaches Victor’s three-year-old son. Víctor recently moved to Portland from Spain and had yet to experience a Timbers game.
“I used to attend Villarreal CF games,” said Víctor. “Even when it was in the Champions league. I was curious how it was here in the USA.”
Víctor says he was very excited and grateful when he received his welcome packet. It was the first soccer game he was able to attend with his son. The Pazos family attended the Timbers match on October 19th, a heated 1-0 win over rival Seattle.
Víctor says his favorite part of the game was the very end.
“The end of it when everybody was singing and enjoying the victory,” he said, “without a rush to going back home.”
Meet Denisse C.
Denisse was the Spread the Love packet recipient for the Portland Timbers vs. FC Dallas match on August 17th. Cristina Calderon, her big sister from Big Brothers Big Sisters, nominated her.
"I have known her since I was 14 years old," said Denisse of her big sister Christina. "She has been there for me every step of the way since then."
Denisse says she was shocked when she received her welcome packet.
“I was so happy to know that everyone that she knew she picked me to go and watch a soccer game,” she said.
This was Denisse’s first soccer game and she says she was most looking forward to experiencing the electric atmosphere at JELD-WEN Field in person as opposed to television. The environment did not disappoint. Denisse said the atmosphere at the stadium was her favorite part of the game.
Meet Elvis K.
Elvis was the Spread the Love packet recipient for the Portland Timbers vs. Vancouver Whitecaps match on August 3rd. He was nominated by friend and former coworker Sara Treadway.
Elvis says he felt “overwhelming joy to receive the Timbers welcome packet and tickets to the game.” The last game he went to was three years ago, adding that he tried to get tickets this year but they were sold out. This time he got to bring his sons. He said his favorite part of the game was Ryan Johnson’s second-half header.
Isaac Gatchet was the recipient of a Spread the Love welcome packet for the June 23rd match against the Colorado Rapids. Casie Bowers, Timbers suite holder and supporter nominated Isaac.
Gatchet is a huge Timbers fan, but he doesn’t get to attend Timbers home matches because he is currently on active duty with the United States military in Afghanistan. He was scheduled to return home on leave in June, and the match on the 23rd was the only match he could attend this season.
The Spread the Love packet included four tickets for Gatchet. He brought along his wife and his two best friends, and he says they all enjoyed the whole experience.
“We all had a great time,” said Gatchet “I dont think I could have went to a better match. The Timbers won, it was a beautiful day and we all had a wonderful time!”
Gatchet says that ever since he learned about Spread the Love and what it means, he has tried to incorporate the idea into his daily life.
“I have been doing my best to help out others that have been less fortunate than me,” said Gatchet. “So Spread the Love, to me, means helping out others that just need a little extra help or just need something to brighten up their day!”
Jose Antonio Saavedra was the recipient of a Spread the Love welcome packet for the June 15th match against FC Dallas. Gerardo Ochoa, contributing author of Path to Scholarship, college administrator, and local youth advocate nominated Jose.
Jose first met Gerardo after being selected as the Cesar Estrada Chavez Scholarship recipient. He says he was inspired by Gerardo’s work in the community and that he learned a lot from him.
“He taught me about the values of leadership, culture, language,” said Jose, “and most importantly about "Ganas," the desire and confidence to move forward.”
Jose says he was very thrilled to receive his Spread the Love welcome packet.
“I was very excited and honored for this wonderful gift,” said Jose. “There are no words to describe my excitement. I appreciated the fact that I was in Mr. Gerardo’s mind for this gift. It really means a lot.”
The June 15th match against FC Dallas was Jose’s first MLS league match. He says he was really looking forward to seeing the environment at JELD-WEN Field.
“My favorite part of the match was when the Timbers got a goal against FC Dallas. I was pretty happy!”
Jose was very grateful for the entire experience and is looking forward to spreading the love.
“I was very humble and honored to have received four tickets to see the game,” said Jose. “I hope one day I can give back to those who have assisted me see the world from a different perspective.”
To learn more about Spread The Love and nominate a deserving recipient, click here.
Blessing Bee Makwera was the recipient of a Spread the Love welcome packet for the May 12th match against Chivas USA. He was nominated by Stephen Clawson, vice president of Operation of Hope, an organization that provides life-changing surgical care in under-served areas of the world.
“Home is not a roof above your head but the love that you get from those around you,” said Makwera. “When I received the Spread The Love packet I knew I didn't need Africa to feel at home because you guys loved me.”
Makwera grew up in Zimbabwe where, when he was 15-years-old, he discovered a landmine. Not knowing what it was, he began playing with it, causing it to detonate near his face. The explosion resulted in Makwera losing his jaw, teeth, and part of his tongue. He attempted to recover in a Zimbabwe hospital, but the resources he needed to complete a full recovery were lacking.
With the help of Operation of Hope, Makwera traveled to San Diego, California for the first of three surgeries. He is now living in Portland with Clawson, working as a teacher’s aide at a local private school.
Makwera says he loved his experience at the Timbers game.
“The whole game was awesome,” he said. “The Timbers Army supported the club all the way through [the game] and with that much support I don't think you could lose.”
Several people and organizations were involved in helping Makwera get to the United States for the operations he needs. He is very grateful for all of the support, especially from his “American family.” He says he knows what it means to “Spread the Love.”
“It means we are all family and the only force that can keep us together is love,” said Makwera. “By spreading love we are staying stronger as one family.”
Dominic was the recipient of a Spread the Love welcome packet for the May 2nd match against the New England Revolution. Mick Hoban, current Timbers community ambassador and former NASLTimbers midfielder nominated him.
“I was looking forward to being in the company of soccer lovers, the Timbers Army, Timber Joey, [and] watching a great game of soccer,” said Dominic.
A native of Sierra Leone, Dominic spent 25 years teaching physical education in the Lake Oswego area. He is currently the head coach of the Lake Oswego High School girls’ varsity team, and is a former OYSA Girls Coach of the Year. Well-versed in soccer, Dominic says he was impressed with the how the team played.
“The team played a great game,” said Dominic. “The team's effort and gamesmanship on the field was very good. Especially team defense, speed of play, and possessing with a purpose.”
He says he also enjoyed the environment at JELD-WEN Field.
“I had a blast. The match was exciting. The Timbers fans were at their best. Their chanting and cheers echoed [through] the stadium the entire evening. The atmosphere was spectacular.”
In addition to being a coach, Dominic knows what it means to “Spread the Love” off the field. In 2006, he formed a non-profit organization called Kaimba Incorporated, also known as Dynasty House. The organization's mission is to help rebuild the lives of the people of the war-torn Sierra Leone by providing family housing and educational scholarships. So far the organization has built two five-bedroom houses, which are now home to six families, and is currently sponsoring 116 scholarships for grade school and high school age boys and girls.
What does “Spread the Love” mean to Dominic? “It means more than just those three words,” he said. “It is an act of giving/sharing a piece of whatever one has with others who might need it or benefit from it. It means making someone happy.”
Know someone you think is worthy? Nominate them at www.spreadtheloveptfc.com.
Kaitlyn was the recipient of the Spread the Love welcome packet for the April 14th match against San Jose.
Carrie Cool, president of West Hills Junior Soccer Club, presented Kaitlyn with her Spread the Love packet.
Carrie and Kaitlyn had never met prior to their Spread the Love contact, but Carrie chose Kaitlyn for two reasons: “[Kaitlyn] had never seen a live Timbers game before,” and also works with the disabled in our community. “She won me over.”
Kaitlyn could not hold back her excitement when she received her packet.
“I was over the moon about finally getting to see the Timbers play live,” said Kaitlyn. “I was most looking forward to the atmosphere of the fans at the stadium, and being able to yell and holler at the game as opposed to just the TV!”
“It's hard to say whether my favorite part of the match was seeing Johnson score a beautiful goal,” said Kaitlyn, “or being in the crowd high fiving my friends and strangers as we all went wild right afterwards.”
She told us the excitement didn’t stop after the 90 minutes was over.
“Once I was in the car and out of public, there was a lot of smiling, laughing and all out jovial hollering with joy over the whole deal.”
Kaitlyn says she is officially hooked.
“I plan on trying my best to attend many more Timbers and Thorns FC matches in the very near future!”
“What a night!”
This was Christophe Vezinet’s initial reaction when we asked him about his experience at the Timbers match on April 6th against Houston. Christophe and his family were the recipients of a Spread the Love welcome package for that match.
Althea and Dougal Cullen, Timbers Army season ticket holders and former Waiting List members, nominated the Vezinet family to receive a Spread the Love welcome package.
“My brother Cedric, his daughter Madison, my daughter Manon and I had a lot of fun,” said Christophe. “You could feel all the great soccer vibrations all over JELD-WEN Field that night.”
Christophe is used to watching top-flight teams in Europe, and says the Timbers experience was very comparable.
“Even for the people that are not ‘soccer connoisseurs’, the Timbers team is really fun to watch,” Christophe explained. “Every time I see them playing I feel like they are going to crush the other team. I have yet to see a Timbers game that was boring, and since there is a little bit of French blood in that team, it can only increase my interest.”
However, says Christophe, his daughter and niece were likely more excited than him and his brother.
“A staff worker gave our daughters some passes to the autograph sessions with the players at the end of the game,” said Christophe. “You can imagine how excited they were to meet the players. I also received a hand written note from Manon thanking me for tickets. One of the highlight moments for me was getting to see how excited she was for the whole night.”
Christophe says he and his family are grateful for the opportunity, and are looking forward to coming back for another match.
“But most of all, a big thank you to the Timbers organization for letting us experience those moments; we will certainly do that again. It is a great way to spend a family night out. My daughter keeps asking me for another game night and she can’t wait to go to a Thorns game very soon.”
Rey was the recipient of the Spread the Love welcome packet for the April 6th match against Houston.
Die-hard Timbers season ticket holder and Stand Together advocate, Dwight Adkins, nominated Rey. Dwight is a good friend of Rey’s, and is a member at the gym where Rey coaches and trains.
“Rey is a trainer at Skogg, a kettlebell gym in the Pearl,” Dwight explained. “All day he motivates others to be healthy, strong and happy. Rey does a great job of inspiring others, and I thought a night at a Timbers match would be fun for him to sit back, relax and enjoy some awesome soccer with his family.”
Rey has only attended one Timbers match, about five years ago when the team played in the USL. The match against Houston was his first MLS Timbers experience.
“The fans were amazing,” said Rey. “I have been to tons of high school, college, and professional sporting events, and have never been in an atmosphere like the one I experienced that night at the Timbers match.”
Rey was also pleased with the result, as the Timbers took three points from Houston.
“The Timbers looked awesome scoring two goals against the Dynamo. I had a great time!”
He also expressed his gratitude toward Dwight for giving him his welcome packet.
“I was very excited that he chose me to give this opportunity to,” said Rey. “My schedule and budget haven't allowed for many extra activities and to get four tickets to three different events was so generous! “
Tyron and his family were recipients of the Spread the Love welcome packet for the April 6th match against Houston.
Long-time Timbers season ticket holder and Axe Society member, Tim Birr, nominated Tyron. Tim has been a familiar face in the North End since 2001, and is a member of local drum and pipe band that has performed at many Timbers matches over the years.
Tyron is a long-time soccer fan, who saw his first Timbers game when he was a young boy. Because of his work schedule, he has been unable to attend a live MLS Timbers match, usually watching the television recording the next day.
Thanks to Tim’s nomination, Tyron was able to bring his wife, daughters, niece, and nephew to their first Timbers game.
We caught up with Tyron after the Houston game to ask him about his family’s experience at the match:
What was your reaction when you received the Spread the Love welcome packet?
I was overwhelmed at the amount of tickets I received. My wife and I both work and it's a struggle to see a Timbers match live. I grew up playing soccer at the age of five and most of the Timbers games I watched have been recorded from the night before, and I usually get up before the kids are awake and watch the games. To be able to take my children to the game was very special because I got to see my first Timbers match at their age.
What were you most looking forward to about attending a Timbers match?
Being there to watch the game live with other fans and knowing the excitement fans have at soccer match.
Describe your experience attending the game?
Sitting there with my wife and daughters meant the world to me. Growing up loving the game and knowing now that my children have seen a Timbers game they will become fans for life. The most excitement of the match was when the Timbers scored and my kids screamed with excitement! They truly enjoyed the match.
What does "Spread the Love" mean to you?
Spread the Love means an opportunity to become a bigger fan of the Timbers then I already am. I've watched and attended other sporting events, and appreciate the Timbers taking the time for people in the community that wouldn’t normally have an opportunity to see a match by giving them free tickets. Spread the Love means to me that the Timbers are really part of my community.