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Timbers, Thorns FC Announce Community Awards at Ninth-Annual Stand Together Banquet

September 9, 2019 - Major League Soccer (MLS) - Portland Timbers News Release

PORTLAND, Ore. - The Portland Timbers and Portland Thorns FC announced their Community MVP awards for the 2019 season at the ninth-annual Stand Together Banquet held Sunday evening at The Nines Hotel in downtown Portland. Midfielder Sebastián Blanco and defender Zarek Valentin were recognized for the Timbers, and forwards Midge Purce and Hayley Raso were honored for Thorns FC. These awards were given to the individuals who made a significant impact in the community, committing their time and efforts through the clubs' community platform, Stand Together.

Proceeds from the Stand Together Banquet will continue to help drive the Timbers' and Thorns' charitable initiatives that showcase their diverse community through the support of elementary education, youth activity and wellness, and environmental awareness.

Timbers Co-Community MVPs - Sebastián Blanco, Zarek Valentin

Midfielder Sebastián Blanco was recognized with this honor for the first time, while defender Zarek Valentin became the first Timbers player to be honored three times as the team's Community MVP. Blanco and Valentin both participated in a community project when the team traveled to Costa Rica, interacting with 60 youth at a local soccer club, donating over 100 books and 20 One World Footballs to the club. Blanco served as a guest speaker at a local high school that had recently studied Argentina and discussed culture, and growing up in Argentina. As part of Stand Together Week, Blanco visited the Ronald McDonald House and helped make a pasta dinner with families as part of the Meals from the Heart program. Valentin continued his work with his #RibbonZ campaign, raising more than $25,000 for two LGBTQ organizations with the creation of five patches with Patch Patrol. As part of the Rose City Readers program, Valentin took time to visit Astor Elementary as part of the program to read to students and discuss the importance of reading. Valentin also participated in several additional projects and events, taking part in the club's annual Rose City Road Trip and was active during Stand Together Week at the Boys & Girls Club.

Thorns FC Co-Community MVPs - Midge Purce, Hayley Raso

Forwards Midge Purce and Hayley Raso both were recognized for their efforts in the community for the first time with the club. Together, Purce and Raso visited a local children' hospital together to spend time with children, play games and deliver special Thorns FC gifts to the patients. At the hospital, Raso met an inspiring eight year old named Rohen, who she had an immediate connection with on her visit. Rohen and Hayley have remained in contact since the first visit and he frequently attends Thorns FC matches to show his support. During Stand Together Week, Raso joined volunteers to help fix up new homes for families in need with the Willamette West Habitat for Humanity. She also has been active with the Pixie Project, a non-profit animal adoption center and rescue, fostering two kittens. Purce took part in the Girl Strong Clinic with 75 young women as she helped teach young girls about mindfulness, health and empowerment. Purce also took part in the Rose City Readers program with students at Martin Luther King Jr. School. In addition, Purce spent time at Chelsea's Closet, sorting and organizing toys for seriously ill children in hospitals during Stand Together Week.

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