PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The fallout for the Portland Timbers and Thorns continues a week after a report published findings of abuse and misconduct within the organization.
It’s now impacting the state’s largest youth soccer program — ending the partnership between Oregon Youth Soccer and the pro teams.
Thousands of kids across Oregon share a love of playing soccer, as some hope to one day reach the pros and even play for the Portland Timbers or Thorns. But as the pro organization handles recent reports of abuse and misconduct, those young eyes are watching beyond the pitch.
“Players who looked up to members of the organization, fans who looked up to members of the organization, which obviously the parents of many of our players, they’re entirely disappointed,” said Steve Baker, board president of the Oregon Youth Soccer Association.
Following last week’s investigation reporting emotional abuse and sexual misconduct within the Thorns and Timbers organization, the OYSA is taking the next steps to withdraw its financial support and partnership with the pros.
“We don’t want to disrupt any of our youth programs that are going on right now,” said Baker. “If it’s done, it’s going to have to be done mutually.”
During Tuesday night’s board of directors meeting, the association agreed to end their current contract with the Timbers and Thorns — either early if the teams mutually agree to cut ties, or at the end of the current contract when the 2023-’24 season wraps up.
They also voted on a non-binding resolution to: “restrict future sponsorships/contacts with Peregrine Sports LLC until such time their management team provides proof of adoption of Yates Investigation Report Recommendations and those made by NWSL/NWSLPA similar investigations.”
“The agreement to remove the contract was unanimous and the resolution was almost unanimous,” said Baker. “The board is pretty well aligned.”
Baker added that while the disappointment isn’t necessarily geared toward the players, but rather, management, the association hopes that for the remainder of the contract, the adults — whether players or leadership — can keep the passion of the game going for these young players.
“Kids want to go out and play, and at the end of the day, that’s what it’s about, yeah? Let’s play the game,” said Baker. “They’re passionate about the game, face paints and everything else, so I think it’s a really great opportunity for enjoyment and to have a passion in the game. The adults have to keep that passion there and not do something stupid to damage it.”
KOIN 6 reached out to the Portland Timbers and Thorns to see if there are any plans to mutually end their contract with the Oregon Youth Soccer Association before the contract is planned to end after the ’23-24 season. The organization said that they “have been in ongoing negotiations with the OYSA for over a year surrounding the extension of our partnership that has spanned over a decade. We look forward to continuing our conversations and relationship with the organization.”