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Steady ’keeper to pursue business interests in Columbus, Ohio

January 24, 2003

Matt Napoleon, who has announced his retirement as an active player, played all but 11 minutes in goal for the Timbers in 2002.

PORTLAND, Ore. – The Portland Timbers today announced the retirement of goalkeeper Matt Napoleon, who appeared in all but 68 minutes in goal over the past two seasons with the team.

As one of the most reliable ’keepers in A-League, Napoleon retires with a 25-22-6 regular-season record with the Timbers. He compiled a 1.33 goals-against average in two seasons, garnering a second-team all-league nod in 2001.

Napoleon paced all Timbers in time played over his two A-League seasons with 5,008 minutes.

"We very much appreciate Matt's contributions these past two years," said Jim Taylor, Timbers general manager. "He's been a tireless competitor, a great team leader and in many ways, the heart and soul of this franchise. He had a very difficult decision to make in leaving the game, but he cares deeply about his family and its security, so I can't have anything but the utmost respect for him and the choice he made. It won't be easy replacing one of the top goalkeepers in A-League, but we wish Matt and his family all the best.”

The 25-year-old Napoleon, his wife, Amy, and his daughter, Gianni (2), have relocated to Columbus, Ohio, where he has accepted a position as a financial analyst with the Red Capital Group.

“My family and I had a great time in Portland,” said Napoleon. “I was given the opportunity to play and the support from the organization and the fans was unbelievable.

“This move was made to give my family the opportunity to gain more stability and to explore future growth possibilities. We made so many friends in my three years here in Columbus. That has made the transition very easy.”

After beginning his professional career with Major League Soccer’s Miami Fusion in 1998, Napoleon played parts of three seasons with the Columbus Crew before joining the Timbers for their inaugural 2001 season. This past year, the goalkeeper served stints in MLS with the Dallas Burn and later, the Colorado Rapids when not playing for Portland.

A Philadelphia native, Napoleon played college soccer at Columbia University, where he was an All-Ivy League honorable mention in 1997. At Columbia, he recorded nine shutouts as the program’s primary keeper in two of his three seasons at the school.

Additionally, Napoleon represented the U.S. National Team in the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

Napoleon was very active in the Portland community as well, serving as a goalkeeper coach with the Lake Oswego Soccer Club and as an assistant coach at Portland State University.

“Not only shall we miss Matt’s great goalkeeping,” said Bobby Howe, head coach of the Timbers, “but also, we shall miss his dedication and leadership both on and off the field.”

Napoleon indicated that he would continue to conduct his annual Christmas soccer camp in Philadelphia and that he has intentions of remaining active as a youth goalkeeper coach in the Columbus area.
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