PORTLAND, Ore. – Kris Boyd may have come to Portland with goals on his mind. But now, with two days of training under his belt with the Timbers, he has a new preoccupation: sleep.
“I feel more tired than anything else,” Portland’s new Designated Player said after training Wednesday. “I’m still a bit jet-lagged, to be honest.”
The Scottish striker has certainly been busy since he arrived in the Rose City on Monday. He was introduced in a Tuesday morning press conference and immediately transitioned to his first training with his new club. On Wednesday, he was right back at it again.
“It’s been difficult the last 48 hours,” he said. “But hopefully toward the weekend, I get more of a sleeping routine because the most important thing nowadays is rest.”
But the one routine that translates in any time zone, Boyd said, is soccer. And he said he’s happy to have finally mixed it up on the pitch with his new teammates.
“It’s been good to get a few days training and hopefully again tomorrow,” he said. “I’m looking forward to it. The boys have been working hard and really are maybe a bit tired and really just need the games to get going.”
Portland’s training sessions this week have been a mixture of fitness testing, short-side games and ball work. Boyd said he’s approaching the remainder of the preseason leading up to the Timbers season opener March 12 at JELD-WEN Field against Philadelphia as if he has something to prove. The Timbers are also hosting a four-team preseason tournament Feb. 27 through March 4.
“Obviously, nothing comes guaranteed in life, let alone on a soccer field,” he said. “So you need to be ready when given the chance to take that chance. As I said, there’s no guarantees in football and you need to work hard for everything you get. That’s always been the case since I was a kid.”
He also addressed some of the criticisms that have followed him throughout his career as an unmotivated goal-poacher.
“It’s something you get used to,” he said. “At the end of the day, with what I’ve done on the field, you don’t get it with laziness. There’s hard work in the offseason. You sacrifice a lot of things in life to get to where you are. For a lot of people back home especially, it’s just the mentality of people. And you can never change that.”
Portland captain and midfielder Jack Jewsbury has certainly liked what he’s seen.
“He’s a guy who’s going to hold the ball up and score some goals for us,” Jewsbury said. “Glad to have him here. Obviously have heard a lot about him and are ready to get him integrated in the team.”
From the press conference to a full-page banner printed in the local newspaper exclaiming “Welcome to the Rose City, Kris,” Boyd has taken it all in stride.
“It was obviously good to get the reception I did get,” he said. “I want to repay the fans. I want to repay the people who got me here. And I want to get on the pitch and start scoring goals as soon as possible. And hopefully that start next week when the tournament starts.”
Dan Itel covers the Timbers for MLSsoccer.com. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.