Jeremy Hall is bouncing from adventure to the next.
The new Portland Timbers defender recently spent 10 days in Madrid as part of a 19-player Generation adidas group, starting in all three games of the team’s impressive stretch against some of Spain’s top reserve teams.
After a brief visit home to Tampa, Fla. for the holidays, Hall will pack up and move to Portland to get acquainted with his new city and begin preparations for the Timbers’ 2011 debut in MLS.
No player, it seems, has been more effusive about their excitement in joining the Timbers. The team acquired him in a trade from the New York Red Bulls two days before the MLS expansion draft.
[inline_node:289383]“I’m really excited to get out there,” Hall said. “When I got notified that I had been traded from New York, with Portland being an expansion team and I was the first player traded there, I felt really wanted. I want to come in and be a guy who moves forward with the whole team.”
In Spain, Hall and other young MLS players trained at Ciudad de Futbol, the Spanish national team facility, and the Real Madrid facility. He also attended a pair of Real Madrid games
As a fan , the highlight was watching Real Madrid’s La Liga victory over Valencia and a UEFA Champions League victory over Auxerre.
“My first big European games,” Hall said. “Over there, (the fans) all know the game. They all know when to cheer, when to criticize. It’s pretty cool.”
Hall soaked up the experience and allowed himself to dream.
“Packed stadium, national television,” Hall said. “Real Madrid is one of the best. It’s first class. It’s every player’s dream.”
And now that he’s glimpsed some of what’s possible for the globe’s biggest game, he can begin to apply his perspective to what’s brewing in Portland.
Two days after the Timbers obtained him, the club acquired former University of Maryland teammate Rodney Wallace. Hall and Wallace helped lead Maryland to the NCAA title in 2008.
“The day of the expansion draft I was in my car, driving to Jacksonville,” Hall said. “Rodney texted me and said he’d been traded to Portland. I was like, ‘Stop playing!’ Then I saw it on the (MLS) web site.”
[inline_node:302210]Since then, Wallace and Hall have talked or texted nearly every day. In college, Wallace played left back and Hall was a left midfielder. They developed chemistry together and hope to continue it with the Timbers.
Would the Timbers experiment with a left side that features the former Terrapin teammates?
“For it to be given a try would be awesome,” Hall said. “If we can get a shot at it, and make it work like we did when we won a national championship, it would be special.”
The day Hall returned from Spain he made sure to tune in to a webcast of the Timbers’ new jersey unveiling. He has watched Youtube videos of Timbers Army and learned all he can about Portland’s soccer tradition.
“I’m sure Portland’s fans are going to be as good as passionate as Seattle’s, or even better,” Hall said. “I can’t wait to play in that first game against Seattle. It’s going to be awesome.”