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Ned Grabavoy named new Timbers General Manager

Grabavoy has served on Portland’s technical staff since 2017.

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Portland Timbers

The Portland Timbers announced today that Ned Grabavoy has officially been named General Manager the club.

“I feel fortunate to have been a part of this incredible organization for eight years now,” said Grabavoy on his appointment. “I would like to thank Merritt Paulson for his continued belief and support in me personally. I am enthusiastic about the opportunity to continue working with Gio Savarese, the assistant coaches, and all of the incredible individuals that help make up our support staff here with the Portland Timbers. I believe our collective efforts will lead us to achieving success together.”

Grabavoy has been serving as interim Chief Soccer Officer since former Timbers General Manager Gavin Wilkinson was fired in the wake of U.S. Soccer’s investigation into misconduct within the NWSL last year.

Grabavoy had been working as Timbers technical director since 2019. He worked as Portland’s director of scouting and recruitment in 2017 and 2018 before being promoted.

Prior to joining the technical staff, Grabavoy was signed by Portland as an MLS free agent prior to the 2016 season. The journeyman midfielder had a 13-year career in MLS before retiring after his single season in Portland.

Grabavoy’s appointment to the top technical job in Portland felt like the obvious move after Wilkinson was relieved of his duties. Grabavoy has spent the last eight years in and around the Timbers organization, and seven years working in player identification and recruitment. Additionally, his time as technical director saw him gain experience in roster management, construction, and player contract executions. His familiarity with the organization and experience in building the roster made him a natural pick to succeed Wilkinson.

His familiarity with head coach Giovanni Savarese and the players also make him an easy choice. “I’ve had the pleasure of working with Ned for many years now. He has been working towards this moment and I believe he is deserving of this promotion,” Savarese said of Grabavoy’s appointment. “Ned has my full support, as well of the entire Technical Staff, as we enter a new phase in the club. I look forward to accomplishing great things together.”

Portland promoting Grabavoy means they have locked up one of the highest-regarded soccer officers in MLS. Among league circles Grabavoy was widely seen as one of the best “number 2” guys — the technical staffer one step below the top soccer executive at each club. In an anonymous survey of MLS executives published by The Atheltic prior to the 2022 season, Grabavoy was voted as the top “No. 2” in the league.

This type of reputation was likely one of the factors that led to Portland signing Grabavoy to a contract extension in 2021, and is also probably one of the reasons the Timbers chose to elevate him to the top soccer executive job now.

You can read the team’s full press release on Grabavoy’s appointment here.