Good news for soccer fans in the Rose City - franchise star Diego Valeri and the team have agreed to a contract extension, the team announced Monday.
Valeri, 33, has been with the club since 2013 and is one of the greatest players to ever wear the green and gold. In the MLS era, he is the team's leading goal scorer (76), the leader in assists (81) and the leader in total points (233). He also scored one of the most famous goals in franchise and MLS history, putting the TImbers up 1-0 in just twenty-six seconds into the 2015 MLS Cup. He would go on to win the MLS Cup MVP after leading Portland to its first and only title.
Via the official press release from the team, general manager Gavin WIlkinson said:
Diego is a Timbers legend and we couldn’t be happier that he and his family will remain in the Rose City... Not only has Diego been a leader in MLS over his career, he has become a local icon who is tremendously important to the club, the fans and the City of Portland. We look forward to raising another Cup with him.
Head Coach Giovanni Savarese added:
Re-signing Diego was one of our priorities ahead of the upcoming season and we feel delighted to have been able to keep him in our roster... Diego is a unique player both on and off the field and his experience and leadership will help us to further extend the team’s winning culture.
There were a lot of questions regarding Valeri's status at the end of last season. Would he return? Did the team want him back? Are we watching the end of an era? Thanks to the news Monday, we have a solid answer. El Maestro ain't going nowhere.
I am happy to extend my contract with the Portland Timbers... I would like to thank all the people involved to make it happen as I always expected. I have a special mention for Florencia, Connie and our fans who have warmly supported me throughout the years. It’s an immense honor to play for them. - Diego Valeri