All aboard another tren. The Portland Timbers on Thursday announced the signing of 19-year-old Colombian forward José Adolfo Valencia as a young Designated Player.
“El Trencito” is the son of former Colombian national-team and MetroStars striker Adolfo “El Tren” Valencia, and his young career is certainly following in the footsteps of his two-time World Cup veteran father.
The younger Valencia is blossoming into a star for the Colombian national team set-up. He helped his team to the title at this year’s Toulon Tournament – a prestigious eight-team tourney that serves as a warm-up to the U-20 World Cup – including scoring a goal against Mexico in the quarterfinals.
He also scored the game-winner against Mali in the group stage of this past summer’s U-20 World Cup and helped the host Colombians to the quarterfinals.
Valencia comes to Portland from Bogotá-based club Santa Fe CD (formerly Independiente Santa Fe). He made his pro debut at age 16 for the Colombian first-division side.
“José is a young player we've been monitoring for the last 12 months,” Timbers head coach John Spencer said in a statement. “He is powerful and quick and should be a nice complement to the attacking players we have with the club already. It is important to give him time to settle into a new culture and country and not put too much pressure on him too soon; he has tremendous potential."
Valencia becomes the third Colombian on Portland’s roster, joining countrymen Jorge Perlaza and Diego Chara. He also becomes the Timbers’ second Designated Player alongside Chara.
Additionally, Valencia becomes the first player signed by an MLS club to a young Designated Player slot, a new designation for the 2012 season that allows teams to add a DP age 23 or younger with a lesser cap hit than a traditional Designated Player.
Valencia will be added to the Timbers’ roster pending the successful completion of a physical. Per club and league policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.