COLUMBUS, OH - JULY 23: James Marcelin #14 of the Portland Timbers is given a yellow card by referee Edvin Jurisevic after knocking down Eddie Gaven #12 of the Columbus Crew during the second half on July 23, 2011 at Crew Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. Columbus defeated Portland 1-0. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)
The Portland Timbers Front Office promised another upcoming roster change, and change it they did. For as yet undisclosed reasons, the Timbers cut former USL Timbers midfielder James Marcelin from the roster, replacing him with Scottish fullback Steven Smith, who had been on trial with the team in recent weeks.
We can only speculate at this point what Marcelin might have done to prompt such an action by the team's leadership. In the official press release, Timbers General Manager Gavin Wilkinson was quoted as saying:
"James was waived for non-soccer-related reasons. This organization has a high level of professional expectations for all its players."
Whatever that means. We'll be certain to keep you all posted with additional news as it is available, but for right now, this is an enormous shock to the Timbers faithful.
Replacing Marcelin's spot on the roster, the Timbers have added depth to their problematic back line with the acquisition of Steven Smith. Smith has most recently played with English League 1 club Preston North End, and before that with current EPL side Norwich City, and SPL clubs Glasgow Rangers and Aberdeen. Coach John Spencer is quoted in the press release:
"Steven has impressed us, both on the field and as a person, during his trial. He is a hard-working defender who possesses a winning mentality. Steven has been a part of successful clubs throughout his career and has experience at high levels, including playing in the Champions League."
The Timbers' official press release follows the jump
TIMBERS SIGN SCOTTISH DEFENDER STEVEN SMITH
Club waives midfielder James Marcelin
PORTLAND, Ore. — The Portland Timbers today announced that the club has signed Scottish defender Steven Smith. Per league and club policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed. Timbers general manager Gavin Wilkinson made the announcement.
Smith, 26, will be added to Portland’s roster pending the receipt of his International Transfer Certificate (ITC).
Additionally, the Timbers announced that the club has waived midfielder James Marcelin.
A native of Bellshill, Scotland, Smith joins the Timbers after nine seasons playing in Scotland and England. He started his career with Scotland’s Rangers FC and played in 55 matches over seven seasons with the club from 2003-10. Smith, who has played in both the UEFA Champions League and Europa League, made the move to England in 2010 to play for Norwich City FC and recently played for Preston North End during the 2011-12 campaign.
"Steven has impressed us, both on the field and as a person, during his trial," said John Spencer, head coach of the Timbers. "He is a hard-working defender who possesses a winning mentality. Steven has been a part of successful clubs throughout his career and has experience at high levels, including playing in the Champions League."
Smith made his professional debut with Rangers at the age of 19 in 2004, and had a breakout season in 2005-06, in which he made his UEFA Champions League debut and was named the Scottish Premier League’s Young Player of the Month in April 2006. He was a key contributor during the 2009-10 season, helping Rangers capture both the SPL championship and Scottish League Cup.
During his time with Rangers, Smith won three SPL championships, three Scottish League Cups and a pair of Scottish Cups. He also made two UEFA Champions League appearances and played in five UEFA Europa League matches.
Smith joined Norwich City for the 2010-11 season and helped the club gain promotion to England’s Premier League. During the season, he was loaned to SPL club Aberdeen, where he played in 16 league games and aided in the side’s run to the Scottish Cup semifinals.
Prior to joining the Timbers, Smith played in 15 total games for Preston North End during the 2011-12 League One season and registered two assists. During his career, Smith played four-and-a-half seasons with Timbers forward Kris Boyd at Rangers from 2006-10.
Marcelin, 25, appeared in three matches during the 2012 season and has played in 23 games over two seasons with the MLS Timbers. He first joined the club in 2010, the Timbers’ final season in the second division.
"James was waived for non-soccer-related reasons," said Wilkinson. "This organization has a high level of professional expectations for all its players."
Born: Aug. 30, 1985 in Bellshill, Scotland
Hometown: Glasgow, Scotland
Last Club: Preston North End (England)