Portland off to strong start

[U.S. DEVELOPMENT ACADEMY] In its first season of Academy play, the MLS Portland Timbers are off to a strong start. Their U-15/16 team is unbeaten with a 3-0-2 record.

“We had tryouts in the beginning of July and I thought we might be lucky to get 100 players out,” Timbers Academy co-director Mike Smith said. “We ended up getting 300 combined for both age groups. We had done our scouting, marketing and everything else, and it went over in a big way.”

The Timbers have regional training centers through much of the state and southern Washington.

“We didn’t want to deny anybody to join the Academy because of distance and we work within the parameters of the best practice rules,” Smith said. “We have players who live over 100 miles away and are able to train regularly each week. The players have made that commitment and it’s been really successful.”

ACADEMY NEWS. Nomads SC U-15/16 forward Joe Gallardo was named Week 5 Player of the Week after he scored three goals in a 2-2 draw against Cal Odyssey last and a 3-1 loss to the San Jose Earthquakes 3-1 the previous day. Gallardo, who is playing up, was a member of the U.S. U-14 boys' national team pool and has recently been called in to the U-15 national team.

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