One Wolf's plans for an MLS team in Portland
seem to have been kickstarted
by 2 factors. Firstly One Wolf's creator Tony Stacy's background in facility management
(including being operations manager at PGE Park
back when the refurbished park reopened) leads him to believe that PGE Park can be run better
, with soccer as the core
sport. The second factor is Mexican soccer's desire to emulate Chivas and gain a foothold in the US soccer world
through affiliation or partnership with MLS expansion teams.
According to Jack Elder
, One Wolf's PR person, Mexican side Pachuca's president Mr. José de Jesús Martinez was considering San Diego
as his entry point until convinced otherwise
after One Wolf presented the facts of Portland's soccer history
and it's sizable Hispanic/Latino community in the greater Portland area (quoted at 600,000 by Elder).
According to Elder, Pachuca (who are in the final stages of negotiations
) would be a "partner not an investor", but One Wolf have "secured the necessary investment" to proceed with their plans. (At this stage the investors identities have not been made public)
Those plans begin with PGE Park
. According to Elder, One Wolf see PGE Park as the best possible short term home
for an MLS side if the venue can be managed properly
with a grass field. One Wolf were at the City Council meeting
last Wednesday to persuade leaders that extending the PCL ownership of PGE Park was not in the best interests
of PGE Park.
One Wolf plan to bid to operate PGE Park and are very interested
in running the Timbers and only interested in the Portland Beavers
in what they plan as a soccer focused
When asked about a new stadium
, Elder said that that would only be an option in the long term if PGE Park could not be used
or a new "must have" site appeared on the horizon. Elder also said that if a long enough license
was granted to a new owner, remodeling
of PGE Park could be done.
Elder noted that the PCL were approached
in 2004 about the sale of the Timbers, but were told that the Timbers and Beavers were a "package deal". "Power politics at it's best" was Elder's assessment
of the situation.
Reporting on the City meeting the Oregonian quoted
Council member Sam Adams
as saying "I need to hear back from the PCL that they're not attempting to deal with their friends." The City Council then delayed their decision
on extending the PCL contract until next week.
Elder also said that "we (One Wolf) have more the best interests of the Timbers
than the PCL".
One Wolf have yet to make contact with Major League Soccer
although that seems close
with a contact provided by the Oregon Sports Authority
. Elder said that they have been working on getting the basics
(place to play, investors) in place before presenting that to MLS. He doesn't think that a shared stadium
would be a problem for MLS, with PGE Park becoming a "field stadium" converted to baseball if needed and not the other way around
When asked about the Timbers, Elder told me that One Wolf had not had any contact
with them, but when asked about concerns about the Timbers he noted that "the only constant is change". He also said that it would be possible to have a stadium with more than 1 team affiliated with it
. According to Elder we would see "a new model not seen anywhere else" and Portland would have more PSU soccer, more high school soccer, more soccer
As for sponsorship
Elder said that Pachuca
would bring "leverage" and seemed positive in getting involvement from one of the local sportswear companies
According to Elder the next milestone
is the Council decision on PGE Park ownership
and their timetable for bids for a long term owner
, whether that is this fall or the end of 2005. One Wolf's aim is to have an Mexican affiliated MLS side here in 2007
As a parting note Elder said that One Wolf are planning to hold a 4 game tournament
featuring Mexican league teams
in July. Venue yet to be decided, but they would be playing on grass
When I told Elder that local fans don't want to be burned by fly-by-night operators, his parting shot was "We are NOT Marshall Glickman
The Timbers have announced 2 high profile
exhibition games to be played at PGE Par
k this year.
The first is against the LA Galaxy
on Wed April 13th and the second is the already rumored match against Sunderland AFC
on Sat July 23rd.
Jim Taylor sums the news up:
"Our success both on and off the pitch, particularly last season, has put us in an excellent position to grow our business," said Timbers general manager Jim Taylor. "Adding both Sunderland of England and the L.A. Galaxy of MLS to our schedule speaks volumes about the growth of the Portland Timbers. It's shaping up to be a most exciting season."
Both games kick off at 7pm and individual tickets are available from March 1st
The games are also included in Portland Timbers season ticket/5-game packages
available from the Timbers (503)-553-5555
From time to time the words Portland and MLS
are mentioned in the same breath, mostly with nothing
to back the link up, but the latest rumblings
seem to have meat on the bones.
Local group One Wolf Soccer
have plans underway which aim to bring a MLS side
to Portland for the 2006 season
One Wolf's chief Tony Stacy
and his deputies from Mexico plan to take over the running of the current Timbers team
with a view to forging a partnership with Mexican team Club Pachuca
This latest bid, no doubt spured on by the Real Salt Lake
approach, could well provide an exciting
background hum to the Timbers 2005 season.
Stay (as they say) tuned.
The Portland Tribune gets the latest on definite/probable/possible returnees
to the 2005 Timbers side:
Byron Alvarez - back
Faid Afash - Expected back
Dan Antoniuk - possible
Hugo Alcaraz-Cuellar - back
Edwin Miranda - back
Memo Azarte - back
Brian Winters - back
Andrew Gregor - possible
Alex Bengard - ?
Gavin Wilkinson - back
David Henning - back
Scot Thompson - back
Lee Morrison - probable
Shawn Saunders - possible as a pair with brother...
Josh Saunders - possible
Other stuff: invite tryout camp starts on March 28th.
Shonna Williams (former manager of the Portland Rain) is the new full-time director of marketing and business operations for the Timbers.
Kicking off 2005 with a quick Q&A with the Timbers' defender Scot Thompson
Scot recently signed a 2-year contract
with Portland after playing part of last season on loan
from the LA Galaxy.
Thompson, 23, started 13 games
in 2004 and during the run in to the post-season the Timbers conceded only 11 goals
with Thompson on the field.