In the final moments, the Portland Timbers of Major League Soccer came to the rescue for the Portland Rain women’s soccer team, a club so close to disappearing that it had already been removed from the site of the amateur Women’s Premier Soccer League website. The Timbers announced Friday that the club had partnered with the Rain as well as the Oregon Youth Soccer Association’s (OYSA) Girls Olympic Development Program to bolster the female side of its development system.
The Rain were the 2011 Northwest Division regular season champions with a 10-0-1 record. The club also fielded a U23 side that played in the division along with the Oregon Rush and Spokane Shine. It was the team’s most successful campaign, having previously posted a 6-6 record(fourth place) in 2010 and a 4-6-2 record (fourth) in 2009 while playing in the Pacific Conference North Division.
The Northwest Division has grown over the offseason, even with the possible loss of the Rain. Joining the Rush and Shine are two Seattle-are clubs, Emerald City FC and Issaquah SC, and another club from Oregon, Eugene Metro FC.
Though the team’s presence is still missing from the WPSL site, the Timbers have confirmed the club will play in the league in 2012 and should return to the site as late as Monday, and the team’s site will soon be re-launched as well.
The club, which has featured players from schools around the northwest previously, has announced an initial open tryout to be held immediately this Sunday, May 6 at Clackamas Community College from 1-4 pm.
The club’s home opener will be in three weeks Friday, May 25 at the Tualatin Hills Park & Recreation District’s Howard M. Terpenning Complex at 7 p.m. Admission is free of charge. The team will play a 10-game slate in the Northwest Division, which has yet to release the schedule.
On the youth side, the, the new Timbers Girls ODP program, similar to the Timbers Boys ODP program, will aid in the development of home-grown talent through a network of Regional Training Centers located throughout Oregon. The program will target elite female players in the U-12 to U-14 age groups in each area. From the Regional Training Centers, a pool of players will be chosen to form girls state ODP teams at various age levels for regional and national competitions.