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PSU coach recruited for Major League Soccer

Portland State’s assistant soccer coach Matt Napoleon, who joined the women’s soccer staff in 2001, has found himself in high demand this summer.

The 24-year-old is in the middle of his second season as goalkeeper for the Portland Timbers.

In addition, Major League Soccer teams have been calling him up to lend them a hand.

Napoleon trained and served as backup goalie with the Dallas Burn at the Cotton Bowl, where they beat San Jose 2-1 and tied Colorado 2-2, July 12-18.

Napoleon, who started playing soccer at the age of nine mainly because he “loved diving around in the mud and getting dirty,” has had an impressive career up to this point.

He played for Columbia University and spent two seasons with the Columbus MLS team, as well as a season in Miami. He was a U.S. Olympian in 2000.

Growing up in Philadelphia, Napoleon always wanted to be a goalkeeper.

“You have the opportunity to directly affect the game in a big way. That’s what I really enjoy about being a goalie,” he explained.

Napoleon brings his experience and understanding of the position to the Viking women’s team, where one of his main duties is instructing goalkeepers. This year, he will be working with incoming freshmen Niki Brooks and Theresa Sena, as well as junior transfer Joell Giger.

Napoleon is optimistic about the team’s prospects. “They’ve done a great job recruiting and we have a lot of talented players coming this year. I definitely think that we are going to see an improved team.”

The team may also benefit from their return to PGE Park, a venue they have not been able to call home since 1994, when it was still known as Civic Stadium.

The downtown location has historically provided the Vikings with home-field advantage, an element that has been missing from recent home matches.

Past matches have been played at Tigard High school, a location that will be used as an alternate field only two games this season.

In the meantime, Napoleon has been asked to join the Major League Colorado Rapids for a game on Aug. 7. He was happy to accept the invitation. “I’m a player first, coach second,” he said, “But I really do enjoy both.”

The Portland Timbers play their next home game Aug. 10 at 7:05 p.m. against the Vancouver Whitecaps at PGE Park. The PSU women’s soccer team kicks off their season on Aug. 30 at 7:00 p.m. against Colorado College at Tigard High school.

For ticket information on all PSU athletic events call 503-725-3307.