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Portland Timbers Academy Making Immediate Impact in First Season


Timbers U-15/16 Team Unbeaten Through First Five Matches of 2012-13

Timbers U-15/16 Team Unbeaten Through First Five Matches of 2012-13

When the Portland Timbers were selected to join the U.S. Soccer Development Academy earlier this year, the club had already put in about a year and a half
of legwork into its youth model. Now the club is seeing everything come to fruition in the early months of the 2012-13 Academy season.

Mike Smith, the Timbers Academy co-director alongside Adam Smith (no relation), was given the task of putting together the Academy teams for its first
season. Mike Smith is the head coach of the U-15/16 team, which through five games is still unbeaten at 2-0-3 and has won two of its past three games.

“We knew we would be under the gun, but everyone has done a great job,” Smith said. “It was a grueling preseason with six sessions a week and then we
played Chivas USA and the LA Galaxy right away, but we were excited to get started. We had a successful preseason and I’ve really enjoyed the competitive
nature of our games so far.”

Just a few months earlier, Smith was not sure what type of youth turnout there would be for the Academy tryouts.

“We had tryouts in the beginning of July and I thought we might be lucky to get 100 players out,” 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.”

One challenging aspect the Timbers knew they had to face is the spread-out soccer talent in Oregon. The Timbers have regional training centers through much
of the state and southern Washington, and participants at the Academy level are going out of their way to receive the proper training regimen toward their
development.

“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.”

The Scotland native is a former assistant for Santa Clara’s women’s team, which advanced to the NCAA Final Four twice during his tenure. He later joined
the University of Oregon and for many years he has coached youth players in Oregon.

“Portland is a hotbed for soccer in so many ways,” Smith said. “When youngsters can watch their local heroes train at a high level, the excitement filters
down. I’ve seen that with the numbers we’ve had at tryouts and the players at our regional training centers. We’ve had a number of our U-17/18 players get
pulled into the MLS Reserves or even see a few minutes of action, and they have aspirations to play up the chain.”

Smith feels fortunate to be part of the soccer fabric in the Northwest corridor of the country.

“It’s a great buzz, and I think it will continue,” he said. “We have great friendships with the people involved with the youth system at the Sounders and
Whitecaps. I’ve enjoyed the competition, and it’s been a great journey over the last two years. We’re very pleased that our teams have been competitive and
are seeing everything culminate at the Academy level.”

Rubin, U.S. U-17 MNT Take Second at AGS Cup:
Timbers U-15/16 forward Rubio Rubin provided the lone goal for the U.S. U-17 Men’s National Team in its

1-1 draw against Mexico on Saturday
 in the finale of the 2012 AGS Cup in La Nuncia, Spain. Rubin had two goals in the tournament and the USA took second place for a second straight year.

Source Article from http://www.ussoccer.com/News/Development-Academy/2012/10/Portland-Timbers-Academy-Making-Immediate-Impact-in-First-Season.aspx

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