Portland Timbers sign Liam Ridgewell as third Designated Player

Portland Timbers

Liam Ridgewell battles Wayne Rooney for the ball.

Caleb Porter’s plan of building a formidable team continues as the second year coach added veteran defender Liam Ridgewell to his roster on Wednesday.

“Moving into the summer transfer window it was no secret we were looking to strengthen our squad with a top-level defender, and we are extremely pleased to announce the signing of Liam Ridgewell,” Porter said.

“Liam is still in his prime at only 29 years old and he’s been playing game in and out in the English Premier League versus many of the top attacking players in the world. This pedigree, along with his leadership qualities and technical ability as a left-sided central defender, makes him an ideal choice to enhance our backline for the second half of the season and beyond.”

The 29-year-old English defender was signed as Portland Timbers’ third and final Designated Player. He is the third defender in MLS history to sign a DP contract. He joins Rafa Marquez (New York Red Bulls) and Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy).

Ridgewell has been brought in to give Porter experience and leadership across the backline. According to mlssoccer.com, Portland’s defense “currently ranks 14th in Major League Soccer with a 1.69 goals-against-average.”

He has to receive a P-1 work visa in order to be eligible to put on a Timbers jersey.

The club’s general manger Gavin Wilkinson said, “Liam is a proven defender at the highest level and brings strong leadership qualities along with a wealth of experience.

“After attending a recent match at Providence Park, Liam was incredibly taken by the fans and atmosphere generated here in Portland and, despite receiving several attractive offers to stay in the Premiership, chose the Timbers due to his belief in the vision and football philosophy of the organization. He is keenly committed to helping this club exceed its already lofty goals this season, and for seasons to come.”

Ridgewell began his career at Aston Villa and would go on to make 79 league appearances for the Villans. In his storied career, he’s played over 11 English Premier League seasons and over 250 matches.

In his final season at West Bromwich Albion, the former English youth international started 33 league games. He scored a goal and helped setup two goals.

Porter now has three DP’s on his roster. Diego Valeri was signed last year and was very successful in his first season.

A few days ago, Fanendo Adi became the club’s second big moneymaker. The Nigerian forward signed a permanent contract after being initially acquired from FC Copenhagen on a short loan stint.

“Obviously, Adi has made an immediate impact with our club and we are extremely pleased to have him on board now long-term,” Porter said. “He has proven to be an ideal fit in our system and possesses qualities that will make him a very effective striker in this league. We look forward to his contributions for years to come.”

The forward has scored four and provided two assist since he moved to the Rose City a month ago. The towering forward joins an elite group of scorers in Portland. Maximiliano Urruti and Gaston Fernandez are two Argentine forwards capable of creating some magic in front of goal.

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