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Timbers re-sign coaches, add Liam Ridgewell to staff

The coaching staff will be sticking around in Portland with a new but very familiar face.

New York Red Bulls Vs Portland Timbers Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images

The Portland Timbers announced that they have re-signed key assistant coaches to multi-year contract extensions. And they also announced that they have added a familiar face to the coaching staff: Timbers legend Liam Ridgewell.

Assistant coaches Carlos Llamosa, Miles Joseph and Guillermo “Memo” Valencia were all signed to new multi-year deals, coming a few weeks after the announcement of head coach Giovanni Savarese’s new multi-year deal. With that, the core of Portland’s coaching staff is being retained for the foreseeable future — another important piece of continuity for the club to lean on as the Timbers organization faces an uncertain future.

The trio, along with Savarese, will be entering their sixth season with the Timbers. All have had significant impact in the success Portland has experienced in the Savarese era, with Llamosa in particular stepping in as interim head coach on two occasions while Savarese was suspended for yellow card accumulation — and winning both of his matches in charge.

“Miles, Carlos, and Memo each play an important role that is vital to the club’s success and have continued to demonstrate their commitment through the years.” Timbers technical director Ned Grabavoy said of the contract extensions.

Savarese added: “Our coaching staff has been together for many successful seasons in Portland, and to me, working alongside Carlos, Miles, and Memo has been extremely important. I am delighted to continue working with them daily,”

They will be joined by a new face, but not an unfamiliar face to Portland fans. Former Timbers player and club captain Liam Ridgewell will begin his first season as a coach in 2023 on the Timbers bench. He holds a UEFA “B” coaching license, and has spent the last two seasons as part of the Timbers on-air broadcast team.

With the new broadcast deal between Apple and MLS presumably ending local broadcast teams as we know it, the former MLS, Premier League, EFL Championship, and EFL League One defender will be continuing his time in Portland by hanging up his microphone and picking up a whistle instead.

“We believe Liam will add a new component,” said Grabavoy. “And he is eager to continue learning from an experienced coaching staff.”

“We are also excited to announce the addition of Liam to our coaching staff next year,” added Savarese. “He has been an important figure for this club for many years now, on and off the field.”

Indeed, Ridgewell was a key component of Portland’s championship run in 2015, as well as their run to the MLS Cup final in 2018. He added a commanding voice of organization to the backline during his Timbers tenure, and quickly became a fan favorite for his play and his unorthodox and iconic “Ridge-roll” goal celebration. After departing Portland in 2019, he returned to flex his broadcasting chops midway through the 2021 season.

The narratives of Ridgewell joining the staff are definitely amusing. One of the earliest flashpoints of Savarese’s tenure with the Timbers was the rift between him and Ridgewell, which led to the Englishman being dropped from the Timbers team for a time in 2018 before player and coach patched up their relationship. Now, in an ironic twist, Ridgewell and Gio will join forces once again with Ridgy now on Gio’s staff.

You can read the Timbers full press release on the coaching extensions and Ridgewell’s addition here.