Who Is In The Portland Timbers Ring Of Honor?

The Portland Timbers announced on May 18 that club legend Diego Valeri would join the Timbers Ring of Honor. Valeri initially joined the Timbers in January 2013 on loan from Argentina’s Lanus. The deal was made permanent later that season for around $3 million. Valeri left the Timbers in 2021, having played 309 matches in all competitions for the club, and returned to Lanus for one season before retiring. 

Valeri will join the Timbers Ring of Honor on July 15. He will be the sixth Timbers player to be added to the Ring of Honor. The Portland Timbers have a long history in American soccer that pre-dates Major League Soccer’s formation in 1996. Some fans may not realize just how far back the Timbers’ history stretches. The club started well before the current crop of MLS teams.  

Although MLS wants soccer fans around the United States to believe the Timbers didn’t exist until 2011, the club can trace its roots all the way back to 1975. The original Portland Timbers debuted in the North American Soccer League, competing for seven years before folding due to a lack of revenue and local interest. Different incarnations of the Portland Timbers then kicked about until 2011, when the club entered MLS.

Over the years, the Timbers have had some incredible soccer players leave lasting marks on the city. In total, five players are a part of the Ring of Honor, with Valeri making it six this summer. Portland Timbers fans may not be too familiar with the previously inducted members of the Timbers Ring of Honor. Here is a look at those previous inductees.

Clive Charles 

Clive Charles was a part of the wave of English soccer players that joined the NASL during the 1970s. The defender started his career with England’s West Ham in 1970. Charles had come through West Ham’s youth team. The defender was one of the first black soccer players in England’s First Division (now known as the Premier League). Top-flight English soccer didn’t feature many black players during the 1970s, making Charles a trailblazer.  

Portland signed Charles in 1978 from Cardiff City, and he spent the rest of his career in the U.S. Charles had already played in the NASL playing for the Montreal Olympique.  

Charles may not get the credit he deserves, but he helped build American soccer. After the Timbers folded in 1982, Charles turned out for the club’s indoor soccer team. He later played for the Pittsburgh Spirit and LA Lazers in the Major Indoor Soccer League. 

Following retirement, Charles took over the University of Portland men’s and women’s soccer programs. He later worked with the U.S. soccer set-up as a coach of the Olympic team. Charles died in 2003 of cancer at the age of 51. 

John Bain  

Scottish midfielder John Bain had multiple stints with the Timbers’ outdoor and indoor teams. He first arrived in the Great Northwest in 1978, following several seasons with Bristol City and Brentford. Bain spent the rest of his soccer career in North America, playing for the Seattle Sounders, Golden Bay Earthquakes, and Minnesota Strikers, to name a few of the clubs. 

In 1989, Bain rejoined the Timbers, having left the club seven years before. Bain moved into coaching after the end of his playing career. Bain tallied 45 goals and 55 assists as a member of the Timbers.  

Jimmy Conway 

Jimmy Conway had played professional soccer for over ten years before joining the Timbers in 1978. Conway started his career with Ireland’s Bohemians before moving to England at 19. There, he turned out for Fulham. 

Conway played over 300 times for Fulham, making him a key figure for the club during the late 1960s and early 1970s. The midfielder was sold to Manchester City for £40,000 in 1976, a mighty sum at the time. 

Conway set sail for the U.S. two years later. He signed with the Timbers and remained with the club until 1980. The Irishman became the club’s player-manager during his final season in Portland. The midfielder also played for the Timbers indoor team from 1980 to 1982. 

The Irish soccer player fell in love with Oregon and remained in the region after his playing career ended. Conway later coached the soccer programs at Pacific University and Oregon State University. He returned to the Timbers at the turn of the millennium as an assistant coach and remained with the club for ten seasons. In 2020, at the age of 73, Conway passed away.  

Mick Hoban 

Mick Hoban has the distinction of being the first-ever Portland Timbers player. The club signed Hoban during its expansion season in 1975. 

The Englishman grew up in Tipton and joined his local team, Aston Villa, in 1969. Chances were few and far between for Hoban at Villa Park, and he left England for the U.S. in 1971, signing for the Atlanta Chiefs. 

He joined the Denver Dynamos in 1974 before signing with the expansion Timbers a season later. After making more than 60 appearances for Portland, Hoban left the game but not the northwest. 

Nike hired Hoban to head up its soccer division, becoming the first-ever soccer employee for the company. The midfielder went from trying to create and score goals to wooing soccer players in Europe to wear Nike boots. Without Hoban, Nike wouldn’t be a leader in soccer footwear or apparel today.  

Timber Jim 

Timber Jim, also known as Jim Serrill, is an icon of the Pacific Northwest soccer scene. Serrill began attending Timbers’ soccer matches after the club debuted in 1975. 

He began bringing a chainsaw to matches with the permission of the club’s owners, Louisianna-Pacific, to add to the atmosphere of the matches. Timber Jim was the creator of the now famous goal celebration that occurs at Providence Park after every Portland goal in which a round from a log is cut. He also contributed to other parts of the Providence Park atmosphere. Timber Jim wasn’t just a mascot or fan of the team. He was a real-life lumberjack. In 2008, Timber Jim passed the chainsaw to the current Portland mascot Timber Joey.