18 boys were selected by a combination of Timbers Staff and Boise Nationals Timber Staff for a three day trial with the Timbers Academy. The ages ranged from 2004 to 1999. These boys traveled down with Director of Coaching Matt Billings and Associate Director of Coaching Brad Thorne.
Coach Thorne said “this trip is such a great opportunity for our players. Being able to play with a professional academy is an environment that we can put our players that cannot be replicated in Boise. I wish I had this available when I was a player.”
Boise Nationals Timbers were the first Portland Timbers affiliate club in Idaho. With the changing landscape of US Youth Soccer it is a great time to be an affiliate of an MLS team with with a professional academy that plays in the US Development Academy. The boys US Development Academy is where the top soccer players play in the United States. US Youth Soccer has started The Girls US Development Academy to provide the same level for the Girls in the United States. All of the best clubs and players will now join the US Girls Academy like the boys side. Being affiliated with the Portland Timbers means that BNT is able to provide opportunities for its players at the top level in the United States. This is the second trip and largest group that have earned this opportunity.
The group traveled down on Sunday and were able to watch the U18 Timbers vs Santa Cruz. It was a special treat to meet with Ex-BNSC player Adrian Arguello during the game and then watch him play with the U16 Timbers vs Santa Cruz. Game 1 ended 3-0 and Game 2 ended 5-1 and Arguello had the first assist of the game. This gave our players a chance to see the players they would be training with for the next 3 days. Everyone was impressed with the ability and speed of play. Billings stated ” it was not only great for our boys to see the level of play but the style of play. Our players recognized the possession with purpose style is the same they play. We have always taught a style of play that is consistent with the modern game. This allows our players to be successful at the next level.”
Monday consisted of training with the first teams in a lighter regeneration training. “The level of play was still high even on a lighter day. The players care about everything and take accountability for every misstep. The competitive environment was infectious. “Many of our players stated they never want to leave”, said Coach Thorne.
The following days were more of the same, with each day becoming more and more competitive. Billings said “I loved to see our players in this environment. The best compliment the players received was from the Timbers coach on day three when he stated it was hard to tell who is in the academy and who is not”.
The boys showed very well for themselves. They were respectful, coachable and improved each day. Several players were selected to return and a few were identified as potential academy players and provided a longer trial. The best part for all involved is they got to see how they play against the best players. The 99s and 00s played against at least two players getting ready to sign professional contracts and several who are headed to D1 colleges. Each player was provided feedback from the Timbers Coaching Staff. Regardless if they were identified or selected all players furthered their soccer development.
During the trip, the players also visited the Adidas Employee Store, and met with Logan Emory for a college tour of University of Portland, where they were able to speak with a few UP players. It was a full trip for our players, one we are proud to be able to offer. DOC Billings said of the experience, “no other club in Boise can offer this type of opportunity to their players. We are proud to be affiliated with the Portland Timbers. This experience just furthers that alliance. I could not be more proud of our players and how they handled the environment. It is really a testament to the players, the club and coaches, that our boys showed so well training with top players. It really solidifies that BNT is developing players that can be successful at every level. Each player will grow from the experience and bring that back to their teams.
The next weekend the 2002s, and 2001s played Friendlies with the Academy. The 2002s were trained by Larry Sunderland the Timber’s Academy Director. DOC Billings sees this as further proof that the Nationals partnership with the Timbers only benefits our club and each player.
Here is a YouTube video of the experience: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ju1TmLE6QK0&feature=youtu.be