Soccer players never get tired of playing the game.

That’s what this page is all about.

Where your FIRST TOUCH SOCCER book ends, the FREE KICK page begins.

It’s a chance for you to learn more about the Timbers … and for me to talk about some of the great stories I couldn’t squeeze into the book.

Scroll down to get the latest news … and to learn more about American soccer. And check out some of the cool collectibles I have in my home.

If you have any questions about my work, please EMAIL me and I’ll be happy to answer them.

Team Spirit Extras

Larrys Mabiala
© Panini


What’s up with the Portland Timbers

September 24, 2017: Diego Valeri became the first MLS player to reach 20 goals for the season. Goal number 20, against Orlando City, was his 10th in 9 games.

May 29, 2017: The team made headlines by signing defender Larrys Mabiala. He will replace injured center-back Gbenga Arokoyo. Mabiala is a member of the national team of the Congo and was captain of the Turkish club Kayserispor.

Team Spirit Extras

© Major League Soccer


The Timbers are members of Major League Soccer (MLS), the top soccer league in North America. MLS played its first season in 1996 with 10 teams. In 2017, MLS had 22 teams. Each club plays 34 games in the regular season, followed by the playoffs. The MLS schedule stretches from March to December (including the playoffs). Most pro leagues around he world begin in the fall and end in the spring, leaving time for top players to compete in summer tournaments, such as the World Cup.

Much like other U.S. sports leagues, the MLS clubs with the best records compete in postseason playoffs. The winner of each conference advances to the MLS Cup, the league’s one-game championship final.

Team Spirit Extras

Diego Chara
© Portland Timbers


Team Spirit Extras

Nat Borchers
© Topps, Inc.



More treasures from the author’s collection!

Fanendo Adi — Forward
At 6’4”, Fanendo Adi has towered over every defender who has ever tried to mark him. He used his size and quick feet to average a goal every two games for the Timbers.

Diego Chara — Midfielder
Portland fans fell in love with Diego Chara the first time he stepped on the field. Small, tough and clever, he was able to break up plays on defense and score goals on offense.

Rodney Wallace — Forward
Rodney Wallace was one of the big heroes in Portland’s 2015 championship run. He was a valuable attacker in the playoffs and his first-half header was the deciding goal in the Timbers’ 2–1 victory in the MLS Cup.

Nat Borchers — Defender
Nat Borchers provided brick-wall defense during the club’s 2015 run to the MLS Cup. His leadership and his skill on corner kicks helped the Timbers raise their game to championship level.

Team Spirit Extras

Gavin Wilkinson
Photo by Wilson Wong



Did You Know?

• Portland has had a total of four soccer teams called the Timbers. The first played in the North American Soccer League (NASL) from 1975 to 1982; the second played in the Western Soccer League from 1985 to 1990; the third played in the United Soccer League from 2001 to 2010.

• The only U.S. born player to lead the MLS Timbers in goals was Kenny Cooper (Baltimore, MD), with 8 goals in 2011.

• As of 2017, the Timbers have had just one general manager, New Zealand native Gavin Wilkinson. A general manager runs a club’s business. Wilkinson also coached the Timbers briefly in 2012.

• Portland’s 2015 MLS Cup was the first major sports championship for the city since the Trailblazers won the NBA title in 1977.

© 2018 by Norwood House Press. Team Spirit® iand First Touch Soccer® are registered trademarks of Norwood House Press.