Timbers sign second Designated Player

By Paul Danzer, Columbian Soccer, hockey and Community Sports Reporter



The Portland Timbers on Thursday announced the signing of their second Designated Player.

Jose Adolfo Valencia, a 19-year-old Colombian forward, has signed a long-term deal with Portland pending a physical exam.

Per club and MLS policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“We are excited about acquiring our first young Designated Player,” Timbers general manager Gavin Wilkinson said when announcing the deal. “Jose is a very gifted player who possesses great athleticism and maturity on the field for a player of his age. He is an imposing player on the field, has a tremendous upside and we look forward to watching his continued development in MLS.”

Valencia becomes Portland’s second Designated Player, joining felllow Colombian Diego Chara, a midfielder.

In 2011, Valencia was a key contributor to Colombia’s U-20 National Team, helping the team to the 2011 Toulon Tournament championship and a quarterfinal finish in the FIFA U-20 World Cup. Valencia made his professional debut at the age of 16 and played four seasons (2008-11) for Colombian first-division club Independiente Santa Fe.

This signing appears to be a long-range addition, given Valencia’s age.

“Jose is a young player we’ve been monitoring for the last 12 months. It is nice to finally say he’s a Timbers player,” Timbers coach John Spencer said. “He is powerful and quick and should be a nice complement to the attacking players we have with the club already. It is important to give him time to settle into a new culture and country and not put too much pressure on him too soon; he has tremendous potential.”

MLS clubs can have up to three Designated Players who can be paid more than what they count against a team’s salary cap.

Under a new MLS rule, teams take less of a hit against the salary cap for so-called young Designated Players. Current DPs count as $335,000 against each team’s $2.675 million salary cap. Beginning with the 2012 season, MLS teams can add international DPs younger than 21 for a budget charge of $150,000, and those ages 21-23 for a charge of $200,000.

Valencia is the Timbers third Colombian player, joining forward Jorge Perlaza and Chara.

Both Wilkinson and Spencer have said it can be helpful to have foreign players from the same country. In addition to on-field chemistry, Spencer has said it can help players assimilate to life in the United States.

The Timbers open their 2012 season on March 12. They will begin training camp in late January.

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