By NICHOLAS MURRAY – firstname.lastname@example.org
Friday, January 22, 2016
PORTLAND, Ore. – New Portland Timbers 2 Coach Andrew Gregor isn’t a Portland native, but after his family moved to the city when he was young, a career at the University of Portland and two playing stints with the Timbers when the club was in the USL, his connection to the city is still a special one.
“There’s so many different things that go into it with the city,” Gregor said on TalkTimbers on Wednesday night. “Everything from how eclectic the city is itself to how nice everyone is here. Obviously, too, the natural environment where you’re an hour away from the ocean and an hour away from the mountains, the climate, you get to see all of the seasons, all those things come into play, but the people of Portland are just fantastic people, and when it comes to the soccer environment here we knew all along growing up how big soccer was here.”
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That environment, and in particular the city’s soccer culture, made a big impression on Gregor as he grew up, so much so that even as he played in college and the pros, he was also cutting his coaching teeth.
“I’ve always coached all the way along, that’s the funny thing,” he said. “The days in the USL, and even when I played in MLS, in the country, soccer still wasn’t that big, we weren’t getting paid millions of dollars, but I always had an interest in coaching while I was playing, and that started back in college when I went to the University of Portland.
“I was being a student-athlete, but I was also coaching on the side as well at the club – FC Portland – that I grew up playing in. Whenever I came back, I got myself involved coaching at FC Portland, and even at other places along the way that I played I always seemed to find myself coaching.”
While it took a little time for him to realize he wanted to coach full-time at the end of his playing career, he has quickly made his way up the Timbers’ ranks. Formerly an academy coach for the club, Gregor was an assistant for T2 in their inaugural season, and is now eager to lead the way in the club’s second season.“Continuing that path now with T2, continuing that vertical integration of trying to develop players upward to the first team, it’s exciting, but also quite a challenge,” Gregor said. “For sure one of the things I’m looking forward to digging into and connecting as much as we can T2 with the academy and the first team, which is going to be an exciting challenge.”