August 9th, 2012 by Michael Orr
New Zealand international defender Ian Hogg has been signed today by the Portland Timbers. The 22-year old started all three matches for the All Whites in the London Olympics and has four caps with the senior national team. The 5’11″ left back had been at Auckland City since 2009 but as a free agent can be signed outside of the MLS summer transfer window.
Hogg had a trial with Swedish second division side Umeå FC in February and played in the 2009 FIFA Club World Cup with Auckland City, starting all three games for the fifth place finishers.
“Ian is a young, talented left back with good athleticism and a desire to succeed,” Gavin Wilkinson said in a press release. “We have signed him through the remainder of the season and look forward to closely evaluating him as we move to next season.”
Mike Chabala’s trade to DC United opens a roster spot and an opportunity for time at left back behind starter Steven Smith. According to the Timbers, Hogg will be added to the roster upon receipt of his P-1 Visa and International Transfer Certificate.
After training, Wilkinson spoke about the Hogg signing, how it came to pass and his expectations:
“We have players in each position that fit numerous different salary cap numbers. We had the opportunity to bring in a young left back just to put him in an environment for the rest of the season and see how he does.”
“[Hogg's] a bit of a fighter, he’s got the desire to succeed and he’s hungry. He’s been at Crystal Palace on trial and we got him out of that trial as quick as this opportunity opened up. It was important for us to bring in a young left back. We’re reduced to Steven Smith. Rodney Wallace can play there. But also it gives us a chance to look at somebody at that position for next year.”
“I’ve been following [Hogg] for quite some time. It’s not something that – ok, here, sign a player just because he’s become available. He matured late, in my opinion, but he’s a very good athlete. He’s still a little bit raw. There’s no doubt that he’s not the finished product. But he’s going to be filling up a minimum wage roster spot, so there’s no risk on our behalf. It’s a semi-guaranteed contract and it gives him the opportunity to be successful. Ian is a young player that I’ve watched for several years now, and speaking to other people around him and his coaching staff, there’s no doubt in my mind that he has the right attitude to be successful.”
“We’re going through the visa process at the moment. He is still in the Olympic Village, actually. As soon as we get the visa part processed, I’ll be able to give you a date.”