New kits, assistants and billboards for Timbers
New players, new jerseys, new assistant coaches: This has been a busy couple of days for the Portland Timbers as they prepare to join Major League Soccer next season.
First the team rounded out its coaching staff, then they introduced a bunch of new players. On Thursday they unveiled their inaugural uniforms, and on Friday the team's first retail store will open in downtown Portland.
And as if that weren't enough, the Timbers also started to pepper the airwaves with commercials and erect huge billboards around town.
Portland's team and the Vancouver Whitecaps both join the MLS for the 2011 season, which starts in March.
The Timbers revealed their new jerseys, with sponsor Alaska Airlines, at a gala "fashion show" at Portland International Airport on Thursday afternoon. Alaska provided a jet adorned with a Timbers' scarf and players disembarked wearing the new kits, designed by Adidas.
"It's not hyperbole to say we could not have scripted a better partner than Alaska Airlines," Timbers President Merritt Paulson said to the crowd at the event, which was streamed live on the team's website.
The jerseys are two tones of green with white sleeves, while the away jerseys - in a nod to Portland's Rose City nickname - are two tones of red.
Fittingly for the Pacific Northwest, the collection of official merchandise includes raingear.
The day before, the Timbers introduced several of the players they acquired in last month's expansion draft.
Midfielder Peter Lowry came to the Timbers from the Chicago Fire in last month's the MLS expansion draft and visited the city for a news conference on Wednesday at the new team store.
"I got just on to (Twitter) recently and I'm kind of hooked. There's been such a buzz through social media. We get out here, we see the billboards, we see all of you here. This is very exciting for us," Lowry told reporters.
The billboards, which started cropping up around town recently, feature fans holding logging implements. Television ads include the chant, "No pity in the Rose City."
Lowry was joined by defender Eric Brunner, midfielder Adam Moffat and defender/midfielder Rodney Wallace. Like Lowry, Brunner and Moffat were selected in the draft that involved the Timbers and Whitecaps. Portland traded No. 1 pick Dax McCarty to D.C. United in exchange from Wallace on the same day.
"It's nice to have people want you, and to be in a city that's craving soccer," said the 6-foot-4 Brunner. "I think that's what we all want to play for, and I think we're going to get it."
They'll join goalkeeper Steve Cronin, forward Bright Dike, forward Eddie Johnson and midfielder Ryan Pore, who were all signed by the club in October. The team will add to its roster during the MLS SuperDraft on Jan. 12, when the league's teams can sign free agents and select from available college players.
Earlier in the week the Timbers announced they had appointed new assistant coaches Trevor James and Amos Magee, and goalkeeper coach Adam Smith.
James comes to the Timbers from the Los Angeles Galaxy while the other assistant coaches were already with the Timbers, who were part of the USSF Division-2 Pro League last season.
Portland also hired Nik Wald as the club's trainer and Karim Derqaoui as the strength and conditioning coach. The assistants will serve under head coach John Spencer.