The Portland Timbers on Monday waived centerback Rennico Clarke as the team headed back to Tucson to continue preaeason preparations.
Clarke came to Portland from Jamaica in 2015 when he signed with Timbers 2 during the second team’s first year of USL competition. Despite arriving in the Rose City at the young age of 19, Clarke made an immediate impact, starting 14 of 15 games for T2 that season. What looked like it could be a quick ascent to the first team, however, took an unfortunate turn late in the season when Clarke ruptured his ACL.
The Jamaican centerback returned to the field for T2 in the middle of the 2016 season, but spent most of the year shaking off rust from his injury. Still, the Timbers saw enough in the lanky defender to give him a first-team contract in 2017.
Clarke, however, couldn’t seize the opportunity. Spending most of 2017 with T2, Clarke was part of a porous second-team backline that never gelled under second-year coach Andrew Gregor. And although the Timbers brought Clarke back into camp for 2018, it is clear he failed to break into a centerback depth chart ahead of Lawrence Olum, Bill Tuiloma, and Modou Jadama.
Although the Timbers could yet sign Clarke to a T2 contract, there is not any indication a reunion is likely with Jadama and youngster Lamar Batista seemingly in line for the bulk of the central-defense minutes with the second team.