Timbers sign Wilkinson
Dec. 5, 2001
PORTLAND, Ore. – The Portland Timbers announced today that they have signed Gavin Wilkinson for the 2002 A-League season.
Wilkinson, a 6-foot-1 defender, was an integral part of Portland’s inaugural 2001 club that posted a 13-10-3 record. With the Timbers last season, Wilkinson tallied four points on two goals and ranked among the team leaders in minutes played with 2,210 over 25 games.
A New Zealand native, Wilkinson, 28, brings a wealth of international playing experience to the Timbers. Playing previously for Kilkenny City in the Eircom League in Ireland, Wilkinson has seen extensive international action with 38 caps for the New Zealand National Team.
"Wilkinson is unquestionably one of the top defenders in the A-League,” said Bobby Howe, head coach of the Timbers. “He’s a great communicator with excellent leadership skills. He’s an extremely consistent player and we’re very pleased to have him back with the club this season.”
Not only has Wilkinson impressed on the playing field since arriving in Portland, but he has proved an instrumental leader in the local soccer community as well. As the director of coaching for the newly formed Eastside United Football Club in East County (Clackamas, Gresham), Wilkinson has served as a catalyst for the complete transformation of the sport in that area. With his help, the club, which represents more than 3,000 youth players, is currently constructing a new playing field with the aid of several new sponsors that have rallied around Wilkinson’s involvement with the club.
“I have a picture of Gavin in my office with a stitched-up walnut-size gash over his left eye and several stitches in his chin,” said Timbers General Manager Jim Taylor. “That picture tells you all you need to know about Gavin Wilkinson. He gives you all he’s got, night in and night out.”
In addition to Kilkenny, Wilkinson has played professionally for Geyang United (Singapore), Instant Dict (Hong Kong) and Perth Glory (Australia), where he was twice named player of the year in 1997 and 1998.
TIMBERS NOTES … Also on Wednesday, the Timbers announced the release of defender Matt Chulis, who came to the team after last playing for the Chicago Fire…Chulis played in 23 games for Portland in 2001…with the 2002 schedule set for release in the coming weeks, the Timbers have announced that season tickets are on sale now…call (503) 553-5555 for ticket information.