Jose Adolfo Valencia Q&A: Get to know the young Timbers forward
With preseason only days away from beginning and the Portland Timbers busily preparing via the SuperDraft, Supplemental Draft, and announcing new players such as Hanyer Mosquera, we spoke with new forward and young designated player Jose Adolfo Valencia. Nicknamed "El Trencito" after his father, the one-time New York/New Jersey MetroStars and Colombian international forward Adolfo "El Tren" Valencia, the younger Valencia was announced as part of the Timbers growing Colombian contingent in mid-December. Joining fellow Los Cafeteros Diego Chara and Jorge Perlaza in Portland, El Trencito is excited about his arrival in a new city and getting to work with his new teammates.
Answers have been edited for clarity and translated from Spanish.
Welcome to the Portland Timbers. What do you know or have heard about Major League Soccer and Portland?
First, I want to send a greeting to everyone.
With what I have discovered about the MLS, it is a league that is ascending. Every day it is acquiring important players, with big names, and a good trajectory. It all makes the league very competitive and current, with a lot of physical play, and high standards for excellence.
As for Portland, the most I have learned about the City of Roses is from what I have seen on the internet and the small amount of people that I have interacted with via chat and Twitter. I have been told that they live for and thoroughly enjoy and support the team. Jorge Perlaza told me that the fans give great motivation every time you play and earn a good result because the city stops when the Timbers play. This is very important as a player. It all gives you the confidence and fortitude to go out on the field and demonstrate the work of the week with a lot of energy and desire to succeed.
How much easier do you feel having fellow Colombians Perlaza, Diego Chara and new signee Hanyer Mosquera will make your transition to the U.S./MLS?
Yes, it is very important because they are able to be good guides and advisors in this process of adapting and the arrival to my new team. Communication will be easier to foster a friendship with my other teammates that benefit the team. It will make my arrival to the city a new experience both beautiful and complex—complex in a good way.
What was it like playing for Colombia in last summer's FIFA U-20 World Cup in your home country?
Great. I am very happy and very thankful because I accomplished a dream that I had since I was a kid which is to wear the jersey of the Colombian National Team, playing in full stadiums and being watched by our entire country on behalf of one cause: to defend the jersey of my country.
How do you think your experience with the U-20 national team and Santa Fe have prepared you for MLS?
I think that every day I learn more things. The MLS is a beautiful step to mature and grow as a player and more as a person. I hope to accumulate more minutes and learn new forms of play, new experiences and the international demands that is the MLS.
What are you most looking forward to in 2012?
Playing a lot of games, earning more minutes in games, making a lot of goals, having success in being champions with the Timbers. With the help of my new team, I hope to arrive/play for the Colombian National team, to be recognized in the MLS as a good player, and more as a good person. Plus to be able to arrive someday in a European league.
The Timbers have a loud and energetic supporters group known as the Timbers Army. Have you heard about them or what do you know about the lively Portland soccer atmosphere?
Not much, but the little that I have been told is that the welcoming and exciting atmosphere gives you the pleasure to play every weekend defending the colors of the Timbers.
Given the playing career of your father, how would you say that has helped shape you career so far?
Truthfully, I am very proud of my father, Adolfo “El Tren” Valencia. He already is a very important sports figure. He is my example to follow and he gives me motivation and pride to rise up every day. My goal is to be the same or even better than he was. My father gives me a lot of advice. He talks to me about playing without the ball and to attack spaces and to have a lot of mobility and tranquil serenity. I believe that all of this has helped me face difficult times in soccer with a little more maturity and patience.
I am very happy to arrive at a club as beautiful and organized as the Portland Timbers and I will give my very best to benefit the team, the fan base, and my new family. Blessings to everyone. I will see you soon!