March 20, 2009

Portland gets MLS soccer team

Major League Soccer announced Friday that Portland, Ore., had been awarded a franchise that would begin play in 2011.

The team, which will be called the Timbers, rounds out a new presence for the MSL in the Pacific Northwest, where the Seattle Sounders began play this season and a new Vancouver squad will debut in 2011.

The Timbers is the name of Portland's current entry in the United States Soccer League and was the name of the popular North American Soccer League franchise that played in Portland in the 1970s.

A city with such a storied soccer tradition deserves an MLS team, and we are proud to have Portland join the top level of professional soccer in our region, MLS Commissioner Don Garber said in a statement.

The (Portland) Oregonian said Friday's announcement capped a long effort at city hall to put together a financing deal with owner Merritt Paulson to refurbish PGE Stadium for the Timbers. Paulson owns the current Timbers franchise as well as the Class AAA Portland Beavers baseball team.

Portland is home to adidas, the athletic footwear giant that is the MLS's shoe supplier and will be a major source of support for the Timbers.