One of the most decorated soccer players in Portland Timbers history has now cemented himself as one of Major League Soccer’s historic icons.
On Wednesday, Timbers midfielder Diego Valeri was named to MLS’ prestigious “The 25 Greatest,” list which honors players “who have achieved the most on the field, drove the narrative off the field and helped lay the foundation or set the course moving forward.”
"Being named on the 25 MLS list is a huge honor that recognizes my work and dedication, my respect and love for this game," Valeri said in a video via the Portland Timbers. "Thanks to everyone who accompanied and supported me on this path."
Since arriving in Portland in 2013, Valeri has consistently proven himself as one of MLS’ elite playmakers. In eight seasons with the Timbers, Valeri has racked up 84 goals scored (14th all-time), 88 assists (10TH all-time), and 256 points. El Maestro also ranks second in team history in games played (233) and starts (220).
"Entering the history of the league was a goal I've had since I arrived, and I'm proud to have achieved it in the green and gold colors that are part of my heart," Valeri said.
Valeri took home Player of the Year honors in 2014 and 2017, Supporters’ Player of the Year in 2014, 2016, and 2017 and earned the team’s Golden Boot in 2014, 2014, 2017, 2018 and 2020. In 2015, the Timbers midfielder became the first Portland player to earn MLS Cup MVP honors after leading his team to a 2-1 victory over Columbus Crew SC en route to the Timbers first MLS Cup trophy.
In 2017, Valeri was honored as MLS Most Valuable Player after recording a team high 21 goals while recording a goal in nine-consecutive matches, then an MLS record.
But perhaps Valeri’s greatest accomplishment in the Rose City is what he’s done off the field. As captain of the team and face of the franchise, Valeri embodies the city’s culture. His family volunteers at the Portland Food Bank, he helped fundraise “You are Loved” scarves for foster kids, and he’s an avid supporter of women’s pro sports, especially the Portland Thorns.
It felt like the Valeri’s tenure in Portland could come to a close at the end of 2019, but the 34-year-old wasn’t ready to hang up his green and gold just yet. In December of last year, Valeri agreed to a multi-year contract extension to remain with the Timbers. Valeri is under contract for the 2021 season.