The Portland Timbers have announced that they and Liam Ridgewell have mutually agreed to part ways. Ridgewell made 97 appearances over five seasons with the club, including a career-best 32 matches in 2015, helping the team win its first MLS Cup.
While Ridgewell’s departure will no doubt be felt throughout the club, he leaves no shortage of depth at the center back position which still features veteran Larrys Mabiala, as well as Julio Cascante and Bill Tuiloma, who are 25 and 23 years old respectively.
Many suspected 2018 would be Ridgewell’s last year with the Timbers as he became increasingly injury prone and the youngsters behind him in the depth chart continued to improve. However, his contributions when on the field cannot be denied, and his play was undoubtedly instrumental in bringing the club to its second MLS Cup appearance.
Tell us what your favourite Ridgewell moments are in the comments, and read the full press release below.
PORTLAND, Ore. – The Portland Timbers and defender Liam Ridgewell have mutually agreed to part ways, it was announced today.
“Liam is quite simply one of the most important and influential signings in Timbers history,” said Timbers owner Merritt Paulson. “Not only has he been a top defender in MLS since his arrival but he is a winner who greatly contributed to our locker room culture. I thank Liam and will miss him.”
Ridgewell, 34, signed with the Timbers during the 2014 season, and across five seasons made 97 appearances (97 starts), logging 8,553 minutes and recording six goals and two assists. During that span, Ridgewell helped guide Portland to the MLS Cup Playoffs three times, winning MLS Cup in 2015 and featuring for the Timbers in their run to the 2018 MLS Cup. In five seasons, Ridgewell played 13 postseason matches (13 starts), registering one goal.
“In five seasons with the Timbers, Liam was a key contributor and leader as our club reached new heights by winning its first MLS Cup in 2015, and advancing to its second this past year,” said Gavin Wilkinson, general manager and president of soccer for the Timbers. “We very much appreciate his professionalism and considerable contributions during his time in Portland and we wish him all the best as he departs the club.”
A two-time MLS All-Star (2014, 2016), Ridgewell was also named Timbers Defender of the Year twice (2014, 2015) during his career with Portland.
“Liam is a high-quality player and professional that played a critical role in our run to MLS Cup this past season,” said Giovanni Savarese, head coach of the Timbers. “It was a great pleasure to work with a player that has been extremely impactful to the success of the Portland Timbers organization. I wish him great success in all of his future pursuits.”
In 2015, Ridgewell started and played in a career-best 32 matches for the Timbers, anchoring a backline that recorded a league-best 13 shutouts during the regular season. Starting and playing in five matches of the 2015 MLS Cup Playoffs – including 90 minutes in the Timbers win over Columbus on Dec. 6 – Ridgewell registered the opening goal in a 3-1 win against FC Dallas in the first leg of the Western Conference Championship on Nov. 22, 2015.
“It has been an absolute pleasure playing in Portland for the past five seasons, and I am grateful to the fans and everyone involved for the opportunity,” said Ridgewell. “I am very proud of what we achieved together, and at the same time I am very excited about what the future holds for me as I move on to the next chapter in my career.”
Prior to joining the Timbers in 2014, Ridgewell spent 12 seasons in the English Premier League and the English Football League Championship, recording over 200 appearances for Aston Villa, Birmingham City and West Bromwich Albion. In 2011, Ridgewell won the Football League Cup Final with Birmingham City, helping the team secure a 2-1 victory over English Premier League side Arsenal F.C.
Transaction: Portland Timbers and Liam Ridgewell mutually agree to terminate the defender’s contract on Jan. 10, 2019.