MLS Draft 2011: A Chat with Darlington Nagbe

BALTIMORE - JANUARY 13: Representing the second selection Darlington Nagbe of the Portland Timbers college head coach Caleb Porter and mother Somah Nagbe poses for a photo with MLS Commissioner Don Garber during the 2011 MLS SuperDraft on January 13 2011 at the Baltimore Convention Center in Baltimore Maryland. (Photo by Ned Dishman/Getty Images)

It's been a huge day for this website. Not only have I delivered fantastic up-to-the-minute-ish coverage of today's MLS SuperDraft, but I've also reported that Kenny Cooper will be joining the team as our primary forward heading into the 2011 MLS season. Seriously, it's been a great day for the Timbers FO, but also for we fans who have seen our team grow significantly in depth today.

Of course, highlighting the draft today was our #2 pick of star forward Darlington Nagbe, a player that most people in the nation would consider to be the best player coming out of the draft. Not only that, but for our team specifically, he provides some much needed ammunition up top.

As part of a media briefing, I was able to sit in on a conference call with both Darlington Nagbe and Gavin Wilkinson and was able to crack off not one, not two, but three questions at them. Of course, I was also able to listen in on others questions so I'll include what I can from those as well.


Keep in mind these are slightly paraphrased. The spoken word doesn't translate to the written word very easily, hence I'll be adding necessary words as I see them:

1. Seeing as this is both the Timbers' first MLS season and Nagbe's first MLS season do either of you have any specific goals (directed at Wilkinson and Nagbe).

Wilkinson: Our ambition is to get Darlington to settle quickly and get him playing the way we know he can. We brought him in because of his ability, his personality and his character.

Nagbe: I'm just really excited to be picked by Portland. I intend to come in of the mind to win a championship.

2. Were you surprised when you weren't the #1 pick? (directed at Nagbe)

Nagbe: No. I was happy to be picked by Portland.

3. Was there any truth to the rumor that you you preferred not to be picked by Vancouver? (directed at Nagbe, by Geoffrey C. Arnold

Nagbe: I would have gladly played for Vancouver. I would have played for anyone.

4. Was there any intrinsic value to being picked by Portland than an MLS team that has been in the league longer? (directed at Wilkinson and Nagbe)

Nagbe: The benefit is to be able to immediately compete for a starting spot.

Wilkinson:  We are trying to create competition for all the players. We are trying to sell an [atmosphere] to players that want to compete.

5. What position are you hoping to play in the upcoming season? (directed at Nagbe)

Nagbe: Anywhere the coaches want to put me, whether that's attacking midfield or as a striker. Preferably an attacking position though.

6. Are you familiar with the Timbers Army and that fans have already begun creating chants for you? (directed at Nagbe)

Nagbe: Never had anyone chant my name before so it's awesome that fans are making chants for me. I know that the fans are really dedicated and I'm really excited.

And that's basically the gist of it. There were some other questions thrown in there at some point concerning his college career, but I wasn't able to transcribe it sufficiently enough to compose a thorough "QA" around it.

Above all else my impression of Darlington Nagbe is that he's an honest kid who is, more than anything else, just really excited to play for us. I have a feeling this kid is going to come out and give us his all. Here's to a fantastic season for the Timbers, for we fans, and for Darlington Nagbe. It's great to have him here in Portland.

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