January 21, 2013 - Major League Soccer (MLS) - Portland Timbers
PORTLAND, Ore. - The Portland Timbers today announced that the club has signed Colombian forward Jose Valencia to a multi-year contract, completing a transfer from Colombian club Independiente Santa Fe. Valencia was loaned to the Timbers by Santa Fe during the 2012 season. He will be added to the roster pending the receipt of his International Transfer Certificate (ITC). Per league and club policy, terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Valencia, 21, spent last season in Portland with the Timbers while rehabilitating from preseason knee surgery on Feb. 6, 2012. After eight months of recovery, he appeared in one match with the Timbers Reserves, playing 20 minutes in the team's season finale Sept. 16, 2012, at JELD-WEN Field. Valencia was originally acquired by the Timbers from Santa Fe on Dec. 15, 2011.
"As a club it is imperative that we take a young player with tremendous potential and help him develop into a proven player in MLS," said Gavin Wilkinson, Timbers general manager. "The hope and belief is that he can deliver on his potential and fight for a starting position in 2013 and continue to grow into a star in this league. While his injury led to a disappointing season for Jose last year, he showed great resolve, and we are looking forward to his continued progress."
Prior to joining the Timbers, Valencia was a standout for Colombia's U-20 National Team in 2011, helping the team to the 2011 Toulon Tournament championship and a quarterfinal finish in the FIFA U-20 World Cup. Making his professional debut at the age of 16, he played four seasons in Colombia's first division with Independiente Santa Fe from 2008-11.
The BogotÃ¡, Colombia, native was a key figure for his country in the 2011 FIFA U-20 World Cup, starting four of his five appearances in the tournament. Valencia scored the game-winning goal against Mali in the group stage, securing Colombia's place in the knockout rounds. At the 2011 Toulon Tournament in France, Valencia played in four games and scored the decisive goal in a semifinal victory over Mexico as the Colombia U-20 National Team went on to secure the tournament title.
With Santa Fe, his hometown club, Valencia made 38 total league appearances and contributed to four consecutive postseason appearances during his time with the club. He played in 16 games between national team call-ups in 2011, scoring one goal and contributing to Santa Fe's run to the Liga PostobÃ"n semifinals. Valencia played in 18 games during the 2009 season and helped Santa Fe claim the 2009 Copa Colombia. While with Santa Fe, the club earned berths in the 2010 and 2011 Copa Sudamericana - one of the elite South American club tournaments.
Valencia is the son of former Colombian international Adolfo Valencia, who played in the 1994 and 1998 FIFA World Cups. Adolfo Valencia, known as "El Tren" (the Train), had a 16-year professional career (1988-2004), which included a stint in MLS with the MetroStars (now New York Red Bulls) from 2000-01.
Valencia will not count as a Young Designated Player, but will occupy an international slot on the Timbers roster.