After arriving from Germany in the offseason as a well known youth prospect, Renken never got his chance to crack the first team but showed potential in practice and with the reserves. In one of the many convoluted acquisitions of the 2012 preseason, Charles Renken entered the league after a year abroad in Germany, playing for the Hoffenheim's U-19 side but seeing little time on the pitch thanks to a series of knee injuries. After going unclaimed in the MLS allocation process, Renken was picked up by the Timbers on waivers with an eye toward the team's youth first mentality. A long time prospect for the USA youth sides, Renken's potential was simply too good to pass up.
In practice and during reserve matches, Renken regularly exhibited the skill and quickness on the ball that made him such a valued young player. Despite his small stature, Renken has a talent for holding the ball or forcing others off of it. The competitive fire that this youngster displays is something that the Timbers seemed to lack at times this season and Timbers fans should look forward to the contributions that he can bring in the future.
Should he be kept on for 2013?
Absolutely. Renken has talent, speed, and a drive to get on the pitch. While he lacks in size and has a history of injuries, the Timbers have a player that could be a major contributor for this club two or three years down the road. Caleb Porter has extensive experience developing young players and seems to favor the all-action style of a player like Renken who can contribute both on attack and defense.