Timbers sign D3 League MVP Afash
Jan. 7, 2002
PORTLAND, Ore. – The Portland Timbers today signed striker Fadi Afash for the 2002 A-League season. Timbers’ head coach Bobby Howe made the announcement.
Afash will officially join the Timbers April 1, 2002, as he is still under contract with the Sacramento Knights of the World Indoor Soccer League.
"I'm very excited about playing at the A-League level," said Afash. "The Portland Timbers are a great organization, and I really like coach Howe's style of play. I can't wait to get started."
Afash, a 27-year-old from Syria, spent the last two seasons in the D3 Pro League with the Stanislaus United Cruisers (2000) and the Utah Blitzz (2001). With the Blitzz, who had the best regular-season record in the league and emerged as its eventual champion, Afash’s league-leading scoring effort (19 goals and four assists in 14 matches) led to his being named the D3 Most Valuable Player this past season. He finished just two points shy of the league-scoring crown and his point total accounted for more than one-third of the Blitzz’ scoring last season.
Tallying 15 of his team’s 29 goals in 18 matches with the Cruisers the season previous, Afash garnered the 2001 D3 Pro League Rookie of the Year award.
"We are delighted to have acquired the services of Fadi Afash for next season,” said Howe. “His performances during the last two years have made him the talk of the league. He is clearly an outstanding goal-scorer and an entertaining player.”
The D3 Pro League is classified as a Division III league, and, with 17 teams, is often the first step in professional soccer for most players. Similar to A-League teams, D3 Pro League teams are official affiliates of Major League Soccer clubs.
Afash, who has played two indoor seasons with Sacramento, began his professional career with Al Itihad in the Syrian First Division. His amateur experience includes 25 goals and 46 caps with the Syrian National Team and four years playing for the Syrian Army Team, Al Jaish.
TIMBERS NOTES … Portland opens up the 2002 season at home against the Seattle Sounders on Saturday, May 4 … season tickets and convenient partial-season plans are currently available by calling the Timbers’ ticket office at (503) 553-5555.