Thursday, September 1, 2016

Captain Jack--

"With his start in a 4-2 victory over Seattle Sounders FC on Aug. 28, midfielder Jack Jewsbury became the third player in history to play at least 150 regular-season matches with two different MLS teams, joining Steve Ralston and Bobby Boswell."  

So it is that this Portland Timbers stalwart notches another career record.   There were many who said in the past three seasons that Capt. Jack was past it.  There was the game where he lost his footing and gave up a goal to the opposing team.   But the honest truth is that Jewsbury has been an anchor player---smart,  assertive,  effective for most of his minutes on the field.   Timbers would not have thrived without him. 

Monday, July 25, 2016

SC Germania- New Information about soccer champions

This photo of a photo shows the SC Germania Soccer team sometime after 1976.   They are pictured with the legendary trophies of Oregon Futbol which had been handed down since the 1920s.  The round globe on the pedestal and the two-handled cup on the right are respectively the Cameron Cup and the Bennett Trophy which have only resurfaced in recent years.   The Johnson Cup, another legendary championship cup is also pictured.  I have to confess ignorance about the specifics of the modern hardware--I know these trophies existed up until recent times but I don't know what the specific cups look like. 

The photo was sent to me by Juliet Dwyer,  the daughter of Steve Pataki, who's the white-shirted gent in the front row.  Juliet will be getting back to me with more information about her dad,  SC Germania and amateur soccer in Portland in the 70s.  

I had my first experience watching soccer played as it was supposed to be played in 1975 at Civic Stadium when the Timbers franchise launched.  I'd had a rough introduction to the idea of the game in 1969 as a PE class at Portland State--an elective.  The first class was held in the mud at Duniway Park where scores of college students with no idea of the game squared off in two teams and began chasing the ball.   The instructor,  who was the football coach,  was out there running around with us.  I ended up taking a direct hit to my upper calf in a challenge for the ball and was carried back to campus with my leg hemorrhaging
subdural blood.  I never got another crack at the class as I was purple from the knee down for weeks.  These experiences led to my signing up for a PP&R summer recreational program in 1977 and the beginning of my own soccer career.  

I look forward to discovering more about Steve Pitaki and his teammates in future posts.  These players were the torchbearers of the game for many years.  Germania, in particular, was notable because they had existed before the war but understandably were not active  during the war years.  After the war,  Germania returned under the auspices of the Germania Sports Club and continued to be a powerhouse into the 80s and beyond. 

Monday, May 30, 2016

John Milne Donaldson and the Portland Soccer Football Champions of 1925

The history of soccer in Oregon and Portland in the distant past is sometimes deeply murky and so it is, that when a moment of that history is illuminated,  it provides a spotlight on a snapshot of how robust the game has been.   

Patrick Donaldson, a local Portland business leader, has occasionally shared found records from his grandfather's career as a champion footballer in the early years of the 20th Century.   

Most recently, he sent me this previously unknown photo of the PSFA Championship team from 1925.   The team, The Camerons, were sponsored by passionate soccer supporter "Pops" Bennett.    

Bennett, with Judge George Cameron, was a significant figure in Portland's early soccer landscape.  The Bennett Cup and the Cameron Cup were competitive trophies in Portland in the early century. Judge Cameron was at the time a controversial figure in probes of vice and illegal liquor sales.  As a former District Attorney, City Council member and later Municipal Judge, Cameron was a target of city reformers.  

Apart from these issues, however, Cameron was a purist in his support of soccer. He supported leagues and teams and individuals in the 1920s and his creation of the Cameron Cup sparked a "Holy Grail" quest eighty years later to discover what had become of this substantial symbol of early Portland soccer.   

In the photo of the 1925 Champions,  John Milne Donaldson is at the far left in the front row.  
Notably, the photo shows the Cameron Cup, the central one with the orb,  the Bennett Cup, the cup with the ear like handles,  and the individual player trophy,  small and echoing the orb.   The trophy on the far left is not clearly defined.  (for more on these trophies and the detective story recovering them , see the March 2011 posts on this blog). 

We who play the game, love the game, support the game here are the descendants of those who set the stage nearly a century ago.   When we sign or say RCTID,  I hope that our vision includes these long ago players and organizers and coaches and supporters of the beautiful game.   

Thursday, May 26, 2016

How great it is!

to see a young player begin to make his mark.   Darlington Nagbe  who has been a hard working and effective player for the Portland Timbers (may he take the pitch for us for many years to come) is beginning to come into his own.    This past week he hit two significant marks.  

A dazzling ball handler and distributor in the Timbers' midfield,  Nagbe has scored goals but has not been prolific.  He has much more often been the engineer behind the finishing touches.   In the Timbers' intense dustup with the Vancouver 'Caps last weekend,  Nagbe scored on a lovely free kick  to help the Timbers to a solid win.   Called up to the National Team immediately after,  he stepped onto the field in the second half of the US warmup vs Ecuador on Wednesday night.  The statistics say a lot.   He made all of his passes, a tribute I think to his talent and to the schooling under coach Caleb Porter.   Precision and poise.  And in the end,  he was there to score the winning goal , his first for the US and a critical one in his career. 

My guess is that these two strikes signal that Nagbe is ready to become the great player that all his many, many fans think he's capable of becoming.  He's gotten a reputation as the most-fouled player in the MLS and yet he's patient and even-tempered.  He's talented but is quiet about his talent.  What sport would not want to honor such a player as a role model and exemplar of what the game is intended to be?  

I'm eagerly looking forward to seeing the next chapter.