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26 Jan 2012
PORTLAND, Ore. – The Portland Timbers today announced that Cameron Knowles has been named an assistant coach. Timbers head coach John Spencer made the announcement.
Knowles, 29, enters his first season as an assistant coach and joins Mike Toshack and Amos Magee on Spencer’s coaching staff. He played professionally for seven seasons, including four with the Timbers from 2007-10. Knowles was originally drafted by Real Salt Lake in the 2005 MLS Supplemental Draft and played two seasons in MLS.
“I'm really pleased we can add Cameron to our staff,” said Spencer. “Having played here before, he knows the culture and the passion of this city and also the high demands placed on us from our great support.”
During his playing career with the Timbers, Knowles was a three-time USL First Division all-league selection and helped Portland claim the Commissioner’s Cup in 2009 as the league’s regular-season champion. He was a finalist for the league’s Defender of the Year award in 2007. In total, Knowles played in 77 games for the Timbers, which ranks among the club’s second-division career leaders.
“I’m very excited about the transition into coaching,” said Knowles. “It is an honor to be a part of the Timbers once again and to be presented with this opportunity within the organization. It was an amazing experience to play for the Timbers and, as a coach, I look forward to being a part of the club’s growth and success in MLS.”
A native of Auckland, New Zealand, Knowles’ playing career also includes time in the North American Soccer League with the Montreal Impact during the 2011 season.
Knowles started his professional career in 2005 as a member of Real Salt Lake’s inaugural roster. He had a standout collegiate career at the University of Akron, where he was a two-time All-Mid-American Conference first-team selection and led the Zips to four straight NCAA tournament appearances.
7 Sep 2011
In December of 2008 when he was an assistant coach at Akron, Dave Giffard found himself in — of all places — Lusaka, Zambia, as he sought to replace America’s best college soccer player with a kid he hoped would become one.
Akron striker Steve Zakuani had just won the Hermann trophy – college soccer’s version of the Heisman – that season and decided to move on from college to the professional ranks. Giffard, in search of a suitable replacement for Zakuani, had zeroed in on a quick and crafty striker from the south African country in Yoram Mwila.
In Mwila’s living room, he and Giffard zipped through months worth of paperwork in a fraction of the time in an attempt to get Mwila’s paperwork through the NCAA clearing house in time for him to get on the spring roster.
It didn’t work.
Back in the states, Mwila’s paperwork took longer than expected. And in the meantime, another rising star who would go on to win the Hermann at Akron, Darlington Nagbe, stepped up into the starting role Mwila was originally brought in to fill. By the time Mwila gained clearance, he was the third wheel out in a system that featured two strikers.
So when Giffard came to VCU, Mwila decided he needed more playing time to develop and followed along, even though he was leaving a team that finished second in the country in 2009 and won it all last season.
“I think certainly Yo(ram) would have not minded winning a national championship, and he and I both knew that was going to happen,” Giffard said. “But I think in terms of long-term development, we were the right fit.
“I think it was a good move for everyone involved; Akron needed a different kind of guy when we recruited Yoram, and Yoram needed the opportunity to play more and to develop that way.”
Indeed, as it usually is, playing more was the key.
“I didn’t play as much there so I started talking (to other coaches) and found out I probably was going to be a 90-minute guy here,” Mwila said of his decision to transfer to VCU. “A big thing for me is you have to play to get better and to evaluate yourself so that was the biggest key.”
Thus far this season, the move is paying significant dividends. Mwila had only four goals and no assists in the entirety of last season; this season, a mere four games in, he already has three goals and an assist. His goals have helped make the Rams 4-0 heading into this weekend’s play.
And with that, the team moved into the NSCAA’s Top 25 poll this week for the first time in six years. VCU debuted on the Top 25 rankings at the No. 16 slot after receiving 157 votes in the coaches’ poll.
Even though it was way back in 2005 when the men’s soccer team was last ranked, Giffard and Mwila aren’t satisfied. Perhaps that’s not surprising, though, given that they came to VCU from a school of the highest soccer standard in Akron.
“It doesn’t mean anything four games in; it doesn’t mean anything to begin with,” Giffard said of the ranking. “It is nice for the program, nice for the fans, nice for recruits to hear VCU and hear VCU soccer.”
“We’re 4-0 but that’s in the rear view; it’s done,” Mwila said. “We still have goals we want to accomplish and want to achieve.”
They have goals to achieve in, of all places, Richmond, Va., the city both Mwila and Giffard ended up in some three years after meeting for the first time that day in Mwila’s living room. And it’s all in the name of becoming one of the best college soccer teams in the country.
22 Apr 2011
Turned on Sounders/Rapids game just as they were strapping Steve-O on the stretcher. Must be a nasty break as they already had an air cast on his lower leg. From all the posts on Twitter, it sounds as if it were a horrible tackle and already calling for a lengthy suspension for Brian Mullan from the Rapids. Haven't watched this yet, but it's supposedly graphic. http://www.mlssoccer.com/videos?catid=114&id=13995
22 Apr 2011
During his rookie season last year, midfielder Blair Gavin quickly became a fan favorite, showing a creative spark and lots of potential. But a hamstring problem cut that season short, and he’s been battling reoccurrences of the injury and working to get healthy ever since. After another reoccurrence early this season, he knew it was time to try something different.
So he traveled to Europe earlier this month and spent a week in Konstanz, a small city in southern Germany, near the border with Switzerland.
“It’s a nice town,” said Gavin. “It’s small, but the area itself is very nice and there’s a little lake. It was very relaxing. I walked around the city a lot meeting people- and surprisingly a lot of people knew English. It was a good time, I got to see the culture of Germany.”
It was Gavin’s first time in Germany, and he was even able to take in a Bundesliga game. But while the relaxation did him well, he obviously didn’t travel all the way to Konstanz for a vacation. Gavin spent most of the week working with Dr. Kurt Mosetter, a groundbreaking mind in the field of sports rehabilitation.
“He’s just a phenomenal doctor,” said Gavin. “He’s traveled the world to come up with own type of therapy. He’s worked with the best players in the world, and [Chivas USA assistant coach Nick] Theslof knew him. So I’m very lucky that Chivas was able to work out this opportunity for me and I’m very grateful.”
Theslof was as a member of Jürgen Klinsmann’s staff at Bayern Munich and the German National team, and has connections throughout Europe. Fortunately for Chivas USA, one of those connections was with Dr. Mosetter, whose unique treatment seems to be working for Gavin.
“It’s called Myo-Reflex therapy,” said Gavin. “They don’t call them ‘pressure points’, but they push spots in your body that are very tight to release tension. We were even working on my neck and it went all the way down to my calves. It wasn’t just ‘hamstring, hamstring, hamstring’, it was a full body thing… My hips were terrible, my pelvis was over rotated, I had some back issues, and stuff like that. His philosophy is that your muscles are a chain through your body. If one link is weak, it leads to another. So it’s basically about strengthening everything and making your whole body better.”
Now continuing his rehab with Chivas USA, Gavin maintains an open line of communication with Dr. Mosetter. The Red-and-White’s training staff is continuing Mosetter’s work, and trying to get Gavin back on the field as soon as possible. He’s back at training now, but working on the sidelines, running and trying to increase his base level cardio.
“It feels better, I’m definitely getting back,” said Gavin. “It’s just a longer process than I would like. Obviously I want to come back as quickly as I can, but I can’t rush it. I’ve rushed it a lot [in the past]. We’re hoping I’m only about two weeks away.”
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