Portland Timbers 2 named Andrew Gregor as the team's head coach for the 2016 USL season today, filling the vacancy left by the departure of Jay Vidovich back to the college ranks.
One of Vidovich's assistant coaches with T2 and a former Timbers Academy coach, Gregor appears to be well-regarded within the Timbers organization as an up and coming coaching talent, particularly after winning the 2014-15 U-15/16 West Conference Coach of the Year with the Academy.
Among the fans, however, Gregor will certainly be remembered as a University of Portland alumnus and a talented goal scorer from the Timbers' USL-era, when he scored ten goals in fifty games played over the course of two stints with the Timbers. While making over 200 total appearances at the USL level, Gregor also played for the Seattle Sounders and Rochester Rhinos, in addition to making 23 MLS appearances with the Columbus Crew and Kansas City Wizards.
After a mid-table finish that revealed several potential talents for the first team, T2 will look to improve their on-field results and continue to hone the skills of the players on the edge of the 18. Just who T2 will do that with, however, is something of a mystery, with no roster announcements yet for the side.
While players like USL Rookie of the Year Kharlton Belmar, Trinidad and Tobago forward Rundell Winchester, and Jamaican center back Rennico Clarke still list themselves as Portland Timbers players in their Twitter bio's, others like creative midfielder Fatawu Safiu and holding midfielder Tim Payne have removed the Timbers from their profiles.
Like last year there will be plenty of loans down from the first team to T2, but expect signings and re-signings to be coming soon for the side.
The Timbers' press release:
ANDREW GREGOR NAMED T2 HEAD COACH FOR 2016 USL SEASON
Former Timbers player served as T2 assistant coach for inaugural season in 2015; appeared in more than 200 USL-1 games during playing career
PORTLAND, Ore. – T2 today named Andrew Gregor as the team’s head coach for the 2016 USL season. Gregor previously served as an assistant coach for T2 during their inaugural 2015 season and also guided the Portland Timbers Academy U-16 and U-18 sides in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy for parts of the past two seasons.
"Andrew is a talented young coach that has a great understanding of the role and associated responsibilities," said Gavin Wilkinson, general manager of the Timbers and T2. "He has a very good working relationship with the first-team staff, and along with Caleb Porter, we felt that this was the right hire for both the club and the development of the T2 players."
Gregor originally joined the Timbers Academy coaching staff in March 2014 and has played an important role in developing youth players as head coach of the Timbers U-16 side, helping lead the team to its first appearance in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy Playoffs last season. During the 2015-16 Academy season, Gregor took charge of both the U-16 and U-18 sides. Following the 2014-15 U.S. Soccer Development Academy season, Gregor was named the U-15/16 West Conference Coach of the Year, while the team also earned the U-15/16 Style of Play Award for the West Conference.
"Andrew Gregor is a hungry coach who has been studying and implementing our first-team methodology successfully with the Academy for several years," said Caleb Porter, head coach of the Timbers. "We felt this built-in understanding and connection with the first team was a critical piece. Andrew’s involvement with T2 last season also allows us to maintain some positive continuity in the team and in our development process."
A native of Syracuse, N.Y., Gregor, 40, played parts of three seasons for the second-division Timbers (2004, 2007-08) as part of a 12-year professional playing career that included time in Major League Soccer. A standout at the University of Portland during his collegiate career, Gregor appeared in 50 league games for the Timbers, registering 10 goals and eight assists. He helped Portland capture a regular-season title in 2004 and earned all-league honors in 2007 while leading the club to the semifinals of the USL First Division playoffs.
"This is a great opportunity to continue the growth of the club’s development plan with my experience coming from the Timbers Academy and with T2," said Gregor. "Personally, this is going to be a great opportunity for me to continue my development as a coach in this great organization."
Gregor also made 23 appearances (10 starts) in MLS with the Columbus Crew (1998) and Kansas City Wizards (2001), recording four assists. His professional playing career also featured time with the Seattle Sounders (1999-00, 2001, 2002, 2005-06) and Rochester Rhinos (2008-09) in the USL First Division. He was named one of the USL First Division’s top 25 players of the decade for the 2000s, having played in more than 200 USL-1 games during his playing career.
A former standout at Sunset High School in Portland, Gregor was a member of the U.S. U-18 and U-20 National Teams, and helped lead the United States to a third-place finish at the 1997 World University Games.