The Portland Timbers have finally confirmed the identity of their newest designated player, 19-year-old striker Jose Valencia. The Colombia under-20 international has already spent four seasons in his country's top flight, featuring for Independiante Santa Fe, and will now move to the Northwest under the league new young Designated Player rules, which allow team to sign relatively expensive young players for less of a salary cap hit.
Valencia's new coach John Spencer raved about his team's newest signing in the release on the Timbers' official site:
Jose is a young player we've been monitoring for the last 12 months. It is nice to finally say he's a Timbers player. He is powerful and quick and should be a nice complement to the attacking players we have with the club already. It is important to give him time to settle into a new culture and country and not put too much pressure on him too soon; he has tremendous potential.
MLS has been crying out for an infusion of young talent from foreign leagues, and the Valencia signing is a huge step in the right direction for both the Timbers and the league as a whole. With the new rules promoting acquisitions like this, look for this deal to be just the tip of the iceburg.
For more on Valencia and all things Timbers, visit Stumptown Footy.