November 21st, 2012 by Michael Orr
Portland has joined the newest women’s professional soccer league in the United States with a club owned and operated by the Timbers organization. Portland joins Seattle, Kansas City and Chicago as new clubs, extending the existing base that includes Boston, Washington, New Jersey and Rochester. The schedule length will be twenty-two games with an even split of home/away fixtures. Portland will play three games against six other clubs and four against Seattle.
The as yet unnamed league will begin play in March or April 2013 with the US, Canadian and Mexican federations each funding a number of players from their national teams. US Soccer will fund twenty-four players, the Canadian Soccer Association sixteen and the Federación Mexicana de Fútbol a dozen. For Portland, there are a number of players from both the US and Canadian set-ups that would be very appealing, including major names like Abby Wambach, Megan Rapinoe and Christine Sinclair. To date, no player affiliations have been announced.
Additionally, US Soccer president Sunil Gulati indicated that smaller stadiums would be used by each club and specifically ruled out Toyota Park in Chicago and Harvard Stadium in Boston. What that means for Portland, whose natural stadium, Jeld-Wen Field, is almost exactly the same size at Toyota Park, remains to be seen. Though a source confirms that “most” of the eleven home matches will indeed be played at the stadium.
Finally, the Paulson family was specifically named as investors in the Portland club. Merritt Paulson has indicated that the Timbers will run the club. Paulson sent out a press release confirming the ownership of the new club by the Timbers and that additional details regarding team name, logo, uniforms and players will be forthcoming.
Season ticket deposits are already available through the Timbers’ MLS website.