The Portland Timbers announced Wednesday they have signed defender and former New York Red Bulls Academy Bryan Gallego as a Homegrown Player, the third such signing in franchise history.
The Timbers acquired the Homegrown rights to Gallego from the Red Bulls as part of a trade for defender Kosuke Kimura in December 2012. Originally from Kinnelon, N.J., the 20-year-old was a standout at the University of Akron, recently finishing his junior season in 2013 by anchoring one of the best defensive units in the country.
He also played for the Timbers’ top development team, the Timbers U-23s, in 2013 and contributed to a successful season that saw the team reach the Premier Development League’s (PDL) Western Conference final.
He has also played for both the US U-20 and U-18 national teams.
Gallego joins Portland native and 22-year-old midfielder Steven Evans as the only other Homegrown player on the Timbers roster. The club’s first Homegrown signing – Washington native Brent Richards, signed in January 2012 – was let go in December.
Gallego played three collegiate seasons at Akron (2011-13) and appeared in 20 games as a junior last year. He was awarded several accolades, including College Soccer News All-America (second team), Top Drawer Soccer Best XI (third team) and All-Great Lakes Region First Team honors in 2013.
He was a three-time All-Mid-American Conference selection during his collegiate career and helped the Zips record 16 shutouts under current Timbers head coach Caleb Porter during the 2012 season as a sophomore.
As a US youth international, Gallego was a member of the U-18 national team pool for three years from 2009-11 and served as the team’s captain. He led the US U-18 tam to a third-place finish in the 2011 Northern Ireland Milk Cup. He also played for the US U-20s during the Copa Chivas in 2010 and was a part of the team’s player pool in 2012.