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Friday, January 20, 2006

Q and A with Chris Agnello

New Timbers GM/Coach Chris Agnello was kind enough to take time out from his busy schedule to answer a few questions I put to him.

timberlog - You had a lot of success with the Blitzz, what do you put that down to
and do you think you can transfer that championship winning secret to

Chris Agnello - I put it down to a lot of hard work and a drive for nothing less than perfection. Yes I do believe I can bring that to the Timbers. I am very driven to succeed and I have a lot of pride. This forces me to uphold myself and anything I am involved with to a very high standard. I expect nothing less here in Portland.

If we could see your "To-Do List" what would be the top things that
you need to do before the start of the season in April?

Develop and championship winning mentality in our team. I also need to find players that can compliment what you already have here which is a very good squad.

What was your role at Real Salt Lake and what did you learn about
soccer in the MLS during your time there? What were the factors that
made you apply for the Timber's job?

My job with Real was to assist Peter Mellor with the Reserve team as well as assist John Ellinger with the first team. I learned a great deal from Coach Ellinger and Mellor. They work very hard and have great passion for the game. Managing the Timbers both as a GM and Head Coach is a very appealing position for most prospective coaches. It more or less puts you in charge of your own destiny.

Over the past few years there have been long running
financial/ownership distractions associated with the Timbers (and PGE
Park as a whole). Did you have any worries about this? Have you had any
assurances about the money that will be available to you?

Yes - The new ownership group is solid. John Cunningham is an excellent President to work for.

Have you kept up with the soccer community in Portland/Oregon since
your time at Warner Pacific? Have you talked to either Jim Taylor or
Bobby Howe about your new challenge? Are they going to help you in the

I have been in contact with both Bobby and Jimmy. Both are very good friends of mine. They have offered great insight to the challenge that I face here in Portland.

Fadi Afash said that the main difference between playing for Utah and
playing in the USL Div 1 was speed. Do you think that's true or do you
expect to find more differences between the leagues?

Yes that is true. Speed of play is always faster the higher the level.

Probably too early (but I have to ask!)... Do you have a squad in your
mind already or do you expect to do a lot of scouting between now and
April. Is there anyone in last year's Timbers' side (not under contract)
that you would like to return?

I would like to see many of last year's roster to return. I am building out of the back and I have numerous resources in the MLS, from agents, etc. to help me accomplish this.

Do you have any idea who will be your coaching assistants?

At this time Gavin Wilkinson is the only one I am looking at to be an assistant. I will meet with several people in the next few weeks to help me with the challenge ahead.

You ran a successful youth program in Utah, do you envision expanding
on what the Timbers have done in that area. Do you think there will be
any differences in the overall youth soccer community in Portland
compared to the Salt Lake Valley?

Yes the market in Portland is much more mature in development than Utah. This presents new challenges that I will look at. I will carefully assess where we can step in and develop the local market. As the professional team, it is our obligation to do this for the game.

If you could sum up your coaching style in a few words what would
that be? Do you have any views on the turf in PGE Park and will that
affect your coaching/playing style at all?

I have coached teams on fieldturf all my professional coaching career. I don't see that being a problem.
My "style" is careful, intelligent and methodically instinctual. My teams have always been very entertaining and I am sure Portland will be the same.

Thanks very much Chris.

posted by the timberlog at 5:28 PM

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[timberlog 2005]

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[Fixtures 2005]

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[timberlog 2004]

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[timberlog 2003]

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[timberlog 2001]

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Byron Alvarez

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Jim Taylor 2003

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