Portland, Ore. - The Portland Timbers announced today the signing of the 2000 A-League MVP, Mark Baena. Baena has signed a multi-year deal with Portland's expansion soccer club.
"We are very fortunate to add such a dynamic player to the team. He is unstoppable and is only getting better," said Bobby Howe, Timber's head coach.
Baena, 32, joins the Timbers after playing last year for the San Diego Flash. The 6'0", 190 pound forward/midfielder comes to Portland with an extremely successful track record. Baena lead the Flash in scoring until he sustained an ankle injury halfway through the season. "He has passed his physicals and his ankle is fully recovered," said Jim Taylor, Timber's general manager.
The San Diego Flash obtained Baena from the Seattle Sounders where he played for two years (1998-99). During his first year in Seattle, Mark was the A-League MVP, the A-League leading scorer, he made the First Team All-A-League selection and the Soccer America "A-list," and he was a two-time A-League "Player of the Week". Baena reached his single season goal scoring record in 1998 with a total of 24 goals, 5 assists, and 53 points. As an A-League All-Star, his second year was equally successful, once again receiving A-League leading scorer recognition.
Baena began his scoring frenzy while attending California State University, Sacramento, where he was team captain and two-time team leading scorer. After graduation, Baena played in Hamburg, Germany for four (4) years until signing with the Sacramento Scorpions in 1996.
"PGE Park is incredible. I can't wait to pack the place," said Baena. "We already have an extraordinary team with Darren Sawatzky, Brian Winters, Jeff Clarke, Greg Howes and Vadim Tolstulusky. I have a really good feeling that we are going to make Portland fall in love with soccer all over again," Mark continued.
Baena's unparalleled energy extends beyond the soccer field. Mark spends much of his time with his wife and children, while also holding a full-time job as a computer engineer.
"Mark is a very rare breed indeed," said Jim Taylor, Timbers general manager. "He's not only the all-time leading goalscorer, but he also manages to hold down a full-time job as a computer engineer and is raising a family all at the same time. I don't know of a lot of people who can do that and be as successful as he has been both on and off the pitch," continued Taylor.
About Portland Timbers
The Portland Timbers are an expansion franchise of the United Soccer Leagues' A-League. The return of the Portland Timbers marks the first time in nearly 10 years that men's professional soccer will be played at PGE Park. The Timbers 30-game regular season will kick-off in late April and run through early September. The season culminates with the A-League championship game the first weekend in October.
The Timbers open regular season play on the road against the El Paso Patriots on April 28. Their PGE Park home opener is set for Friday, May 11 against archrival Seattle Sounders.
Other A-League opponents include the Vancouver Whitecaps, Rochester Raging Rhinos, Atlanta Silverbacks, Minnesota Thunder, Pittsburgh Riverhounds, Toronto Lynx, Milwaukee Rampage and San Diego Flash among others. For ticket information, call 503-553-5555.