In this installment of Getting to Know the Timbers we take a closer look at Jake Gleeson.
Jake Gleeson (GK)
- Portland Timbers U-23 PDL Team (started all 14 games with 8 shutouts and 0.36 GAA)
- Team Wellington 2008-09 (Started 5 games)
Jake is an up and coming Goalkeeper. His natural height allows him to challenge the aerial balls but his quick reflexes also give him an advantage going to ground. He has great instincts for a young goalkeeper and will only get better with experience. If he is our future at goalkeeper we have nothing to worry about, well probably the only thing to worry about is if he moves to Europe for the big money. His presence in the net gave the U-23s a boost and the ability to defend without the pressure of knowing they might give up a goal because they felt he could stop anything as long as they defended as well as they could.
His biggest weaknesses are his youth and inexperience. Goalies usually come into their prime more towards their early 30's. While field players are usually hitting their prime towards the mid to late 20's. The great thing is he is learning from two, at least at certain points in their career's, successful goalkeepers. This will only counter the two most glaring weaknesses he has. His only weakness in terms of skill is his positioning he sometimes finds himself out of position, which seems to be slowly disappearing as he continues in his development.
Look for Jake to be the reserve goalkeeper despite his work ethic and desire, he mentioned to Gavin Wilkinson his desire to be the starting goalkeeper in 2 years (Gavin passes this tidbit on during the 2/17/2011 Talk Timbers radio show). His potential upside already has the New Zealand press speculating about the All Whites (New Zealand National Team) calling him up for international duty.
If you haven't seen Jake play take a look at these highlights from when he was 17 at the U-17 World Cup. I drooled watching these, granted the video are just highlights and don't show his mistakes.