Timbers choose captain as season opener nears,

By Paul Danzer, Columbian community sports reporter

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Newcomer Will Johnson has been named the Portland Timbers' team captain, and Jack Jewsbury will continue in a leadership role with the title of club captain.

Timbers coach Caleb Porter made the announcement Tuesday, five days before Portland opens the 2013 Major League Soccer season with a Sunday home game against the New York Red Bulls.

"Will's a winner," Porter said of the 26-year-old midfielder, who the Timbers acquired from Real Salt Lake.

"His competitiveness is extremely valuable day to day in terms of getting our culture right and pushing guys," Porter said. "He's a guy that can kind of grab guys by the scruff of their neck and say 'Hey wake up. Let's get going,' but also he has the maturity and emotional intelligence to give positive reinforcement at the right times."

Jewsbury was the Timbers' captain for their first two MLS seasons. He has missed much of the preseason with an injury. Porter said the change to the title of club captain is not a demotion for Jewsbury.

"For me not much really changes when I'm on the field with Will and without Will," Jewsbury said. "We're both going to be leaders. And I hope more guys step up, because that's what you need on a championship team, which is what we're building."

Johnson, entering his seventh MLS season — the last four as a starter for Real Salt Lake — said he is excited, humbled and grateful to be captain of the Timbers.

"We're not going to be a team that ever lies down, or backs down to anyone," Johnson said. "I'm sure the rest of the guys have picked up on that already."

• The Timbers new primary and secondary jerseys will be unveiled Thursday evening at Talisman Gallery, 1476 NE Alberta St., Portland. The Timbers are one of 14 MLS teams getting new jerseys in 2013. Under an agreement with Adidas, MLS teams change their jerseys every third season.