As the leader of the Portland Timbers, Jack Jewsbury has been the consummate professional this season. And in his nine years in MLS, not much surprises the midfielder these days.
But for a couple days this week, Jewsbury is understandably in awe — he’s in New York as a first-time member of the MLS All-Star team.
“I’m just excited,” Jewsbury told MLSsoccer.com on Tuesday morning after training with the team in preparation for the game Wednesday against Manchester United. “This whole experience has been great.”
Jewsbury is enjoying a career year with the expansion club Timbers, with a team-best five goals and six assists. He came to Portland in a trade this season after spending his entire career with Kansas City, who drafted him in the fifth round out of St. Louis University eight years ago.
He said Portland has given him the chance to shine, making him the team’s centerpiece from the season’s outset.
“It’s great for him, great for the club, especially our captain in the first year of the team,” Portland head coach John Spencer said. “We’re proud of him.”
So for a couple of days, before getting back to the Timbers to prepare for Saturday’s game against Toronto, Jewsbury is the proverbial kid in the candy store, training with the likes of Thierry Henry and David Beckham.
“Especially with Beckham, to see his lifestyle, it is definitely different than what we’re used to,” Jewsbury said. “But he’s been great; he’s a good guy. At the end of the day, everyone is just looking for a good result.”
Jewsbury said the game organizers have the team on a busy schedule of promotional appearances along with the training schedule.
Among a host of other activities, the team joined hundreds of fans on Monday on a makeshift field set up in Midtown Manhattan, where they set the Guiness World Record for the record number of penalty kicks taken.
Then the All-Stars, along with Manchester United, visited the New York mayor’s mansion Monday. On Tuesday evening, the players will “flip the switch” on the tower lights of the Empire State Building, which will be in the colors of MLS (green, blue and white) and Manchester United (red).
“It’s been a great experience,” Jewsbury said.
He said he’s not certain of what role he’ll play in the actual game. But All-Star team head coach Hans Backe said everyone on the roster will get into the game. Manchester United beat the All-Stars in last year’s game 5-2.
“Anytime you go into a game no matter who you’re playing, you’re still going out there to get results,” Jewsbury said. “It’s hard for a group of guys to come together in two days, but at the end of the day, everyone wants to win.”