Major League Soccer officially announced that Portland, Oregon has been given the 18th franchise and will begin play in 2011, along with their fellow west coast city, Vancouver.
“A city with such a storied soccer tradition deserves an MLS team, and we are proud to have Portland join the top level of professional soccer in our region,” Garber said. “Merritt Paulson and his family provide a vibrant and innovative ownership group that truly loves the world’s game and we believe PGE Park will provide a world-class soccer environment for soccer fans.”
The Portland franchise will retain it’s famous “Timbers” nickname, a name that has been with the city for many years as a NASL and USL team.
“Today is a historic day for Soccer City, USA, and it is a big win for our economy, our community and for soccer fans everywhere,” Paulson said. “We are in a position to make this announcement today because of our incredible fans and strong leadership from city leaders. Not only does this bring Major League Soccer to Portland, but it creates hundreds of jobs, protects taxpayers from risk and shines a positive national and international spotlight on Portland and the state of Oregon.”
The Timbers will continue playing their home soccer at PGE Park, a stadium that will be renovated heavily before the start of the 2011 season so it becomes a state-of-the-art soccer specific facility.
Earlier this week, Vancouver, another Pacific Northwest city was awarded the league’s 17th franchise and will also begin playing in 2011 with Portland.