The Portland Timbers U23s have been approved for relocation to Salem, Oregon, the team and United Soccer League league announced Friday.
Capital FC Timbers, a Timbers Academy alliance club since 2013, will assume day-to-day operations of the U23s. The Timbers will continue to provide resources for the PDL club.
The U23s have had a rather nomadic past, playing select matches at Providence Park, while the remainder have been played at various schools throughout the metro area.
“With our development focus shifting to our academy program and T2, we felt it was important to put the U23 program in a marketplace that will be both beneficial to the Timbers brand and also our alliance club partner, Capital FC Timbers,” said Gavin Wilkinson, general manager and president of soccer for the Timbers in the press release. “We are delighted that they have taken the opportunity to further strengthen the partnership and we look forward to working with Capital FC Timbers to maintain a strong U23 program.”
The U23s have proven to be an important starting ground for several current MLS players, including current Timbers goalkeeper Jake Gleeson, 2017 Draft Pick Romilo Hernandez, and former Timbers/T2 players Kharlton Belmar, Freddy Braun, Steven Evans, Justin Luthy, and Brent Richards.
The U23s have had several players drafted into MLS, included recent Top-5 picks Erik Hurtado (2013), Erik Miller (2014), Khiry Shelton (2015), and Fatai Alashe (2015).
A home venue has not been announced at this time, but the U23s did play a match at Wilamette University in 2014 versus Lane United.
USL Press Release
MLS club announces stronger affiliation with Salem-based academy; PDL team to remain Timbers U23
TAMPA, Fla. – A partner of the Portland Timbers since 2013, the Capital Fútbol Club Timbers have announced a stronger affiliation with the MLS club’s PDL franchise ahead of the 2017 season. The Capital FC Timbers will handle the day-to-day operations of the PDL team, which will still compete as the Portland Timbers U23, while the MLS club will provide resources and assist with player recruitment and selection.
“With our development focus shifting to our academy program and T2, we felt it was important to put the U23 program in a marketplace that will be both beneficial to the Timbers brand and also our alliance club partner, Capital FC Timbers,” said Gavin Wilkinson, general manager and president of soccer for the Timbers. “We are delighted that they have taken the opportunity to further strengthen the partnership and we look forward to working with Capital FC Timbers to maintain a strong U23 program.”
Founded in 1993, the Capital FC Timbers are a member club of the Portland Timbers Alliance, which provides elite local youth clubs with coaching resources to better develop aspiring players. The youth club has had 154 alumni move on to play at the collegiate level, while 27 standouts have been selected to join the Portland Timbers and Portland Thorns FC Academy systems.
”We are excited to expand our relationship with the Portland Timbers and add the Timbers U23 to our club. This is a testament to the hard work put in by our players, coaches and administrative staff. The PDL was part of my soccer life growing up in Salem and I am excited to be able to bring that back to Salem with the Timbers U23,” Capital FC Timbers Executive Director, Collin Box said.
The Timbers U23 have competed in the PDL since 2009, reaching the PDL Playoffs five times. In 2010, the club won a PDL national championship with a 16-0-0 record during the regular season on its way to becoming the first undefeated champion in PDL history.
The PDL, a part of the United Soccer Leagues – which also operates the Division 2 USL as well as the Super Y League – has served as an important stepping stone for aspiring professionals for more than two decades. More than 550 PDL alums have been drafted since 2000, with 59 standouts selected in the 2017 MLS SuperDraft. Nearly 70 percent of MLS SuperDraft selections since 2010 have had PDL experience.