With the relaunch of T2 in the MLS Next Pro league this year, the Portland Timbers have announced who will be at the helm out in Hillsboro. Timbers assistant coach Shannon Murray will step into the head coaching role with T2, with Serge Dinkota and former Timbers player Andres Flores serving as his assistant coaches. Steve Reese as goalkeeper coach, Ian Russi as a performance specialist, and Ethan Konoza as head athletic trainer round out the T2 technical staff.
Murray has previous experience with T2: He served as an assistant coach for two seasons, starting in 2016. He transitioned to the Timbers first team technical staff in 2018, starting as video/data analyst and then as an assistant coach.
Before coming to Portland, Murray worked as an academy coach for the Seattle Sounders. He also has been a member of U.S. Soccer’s National Coaching Education staff since 2011, and holds a USSF “A” coaching license,
“First, I would like to thank Merritt, Gavin, Ned and Gio for trusting me with this opportunity,” Murray shared in the team’s press release. “It’s an important step for the club to re-establish the reserve team as a resource in the development process of our young players. I am looking forward to getting started with this project and continuing to support Gio and the first team staff in any way I can,”
“The various experiences that this staff bring will be extremely beneficial for our players and they will serve as tremendous role models,” Murray continued. “I’m excited to get to work with them.”
One of the staff members referenced who brings unique experience is former Timbers player Andres Flores. The Salvadoran midfielder left the Timbers after the 2020 season and will now rejoin the club on the technical staff for T2. Flores played under first team head coach Giovanni Savarese from 2014–2017 on the New York Cosmos, and then followed him to the Timbers in 2018. Flores logged 45 appearances for the Timbers across his three seasons with the Timbers.
The rest of Murray’s coaching staff have been a part of the Timbers organization for various numbers of years. They all bring with them experience with the Timbers at various levels, ranging from the academy, to T2, and all the way to the first team.
T2 will be calling Hillsboro home, and Hillsboro Stadium will serve as the team’s home field. The use of the field is a continuation of a partnership made between the Portland Timbers and MiLB team the Hillsboro Hops. While the Hops will oversee business operations such as marketing, ticketing and sponsorship sales, the Timbers organization will continue to own and manage soccer operations for T2.
Full information about the MLS Next Pro league, as well as who will be on the roster for the relaunched T2, has yet to be released. But now we know who will be leading them from the touchline.
You can read the full press release and breakdown of the technical staff of T2 here.