The Portland Timbers have announced Ned Grabavoy as the side’s new Director of Scouting and Recruitment today, adding the former midfielder to the organization’s front office following his retirement as a player.
Grabavoy, who played 301 regular season matches in his MLS career — including 22 with the Timbers in 2016 — will oversee a team of scouts, according to the release, and will be charged with “identifying and evaluating” professional and collegiate players for the side. Grabavoy will also work on developing “target markets for recruiting players – both domestically and internationally – for each level within the club’s developmental pyramid.”
The first aspect of the job should come as no surprise as it is somewhere that the Timbers, as well as most clubs in MLS, have not typically been strong, instead relying on league resources and player agents to find new pieces.
The second aspect, however, is an interesting one, particularly in light of the Timbers recent emphasis on building up their talent pipeline. With Grabavoy and company looking to develop links not just for the first team, but for T2, the U-23s, and the academy as well, the Timbers are clearly looking to build up their ability to sculpt young talents into players that will fit their system in the long term. Whether that means a greater number of young talents like Victor Arboleda and Rennico Clarke coming through T2 or new territories being established to bring in homegrown players here in the US, a broader base of players will certainly be beneficial to the Timbers.
It will be some time before we can have an idea of how Grabavoy fits into the role and even longer before we can measure the fruits of his labor, but the simple fact that the Timbers are establishing this position and potentially putting forward the resources necessary for it seem like positive steps for the side.
The Timbers’ press release:
PORTLAND, Ore. – The Portland Timbers announced today that the club has named Ned Grabavoy its director of scouting and recruitment. Grabavoy, one of just 39 players in league history to play 300 or more regular-season games in MLS, joins Portland’s technical staff after a distinguished 13-year playing career that included two MLS Cup championships and a Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup title.
"We have placed a great emphasis on further developing our player scouting efforts within the club, and the addition of Ned Grabavoy as the director of scouting and recruitment, and the considerable league experience he brings to the position, is another important step in that evolution,” said Gavin Wilkinson, general manager and president of soccer for the Timbers.
In his role on the Timbers’ technical staff, Grabavoy will oversee the identification and evaluation of prospective professional and collegiate players, managing a team of scouts for early identification and recruitment. Additionally, Grabavoy will collaborate with the Timbers’ technical staff to further develop target markets for recruiting players – both domestically and internationally – for each level within the club’s developmental pyramid.
"We are pleased to have Ned on board to assist our technical staff in the identification of potential players,” said Caleb Porter, head coach of the Timbers. “His vast MLS experience in winning clubs will be extremely valuable as we continue to refine our scouting infrastructure and processes."
Grabavoy, who joined the Timbers as the first MLS free-agent player signing in team history ahead of the 2016 MLS campaign, recently concluded his 13-year playing career in the league, announcing his retirement as a player on Oct. 18, 2016. In his final season, Grabavoy recorded 22 appearances (5 starts) with the Timbers, extending his career tally to 301 league appearances (225 starts) with six different MLS clubs.