Blanchette, Nitti to Play for Timbers U23s

Craig Nitti was a team captain for LMU last fall.

May 7, 2013

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Portions courtesy Portland Timbers Media Relations

PORTLAND - The Portland Timbers U-23s today announced the addition of four more players to their roster for the upcoming Premier Development League (PDL) season. Among the four joining the team for 2013 are LMU goalkeeper Paul Blanchette and defender Craig Nitti.

Blanchette (Palo Alto, Calif.) was the first-choice goalkeeper for Loyola Marymount last season as a freshman, playing in 17 games (16 starts). He was named to the West Coast Conference All-Freshman Team, leading the conference with 78 saves and registering the second-highest save percentage in the conference (.796). He recorded his first career clean sheet in a scoreless, double-overtime draw against Santa Clara on Nov. 9. Blanchette was one of five Lions players awarded WCC honorable mention in 2012.

Nitti (Calabasas, Calif.) was a regular on the Loyola Marymount backline in 2012, starting 17 of the team's 19 games and logging 1,593 minutes - second-most on the team. He found the back of the net three times, including an 89th-minute equalizer in the season-opener against fourth-ranked UC Santa Barbara. Nitti also scored the game-winner in second-half stoppage time of a 2-1 win over Stanford. Nitti was all-conference honorable mention and named to the WCC All-Academic Team last season. In three seasons with the Lions, Nitti has played in 37 games (26 starts), registering four goals and two assists.



With today's transactions, the Timbers U-23s have 12 players on their 2013 roster.

"We are very excited that several of our student-athletes have this fantastic opportunity to train and work with the Portland Timbers organization," said LMU Head Coach Paul Krumpe.

The Timbers U-23s play host to the Sacramento Gold of the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL) in the first round of the 2013 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup on Tuesday, May 14, at JELD-WEN Field; kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. (Pacific). Tickets, priced at $10, are available for purchase through the JELD-WEN Field box office and online at

Founded Nov. 11, 2008, the Portland Timbers U-23s, presented by Billups Worldwide, is an amateur team affiliated with the Portland Timbers of Major League Soccer and serves as a development platform for the club's first team. The team consists of standout players from collegiate and youth programs from Oregon, the Northwest and throughout the country, and competes in United Soccer Leagues' Premier Development League (PDL). Since their founding, five Timbers U-23s players have signed with the first team, including goalkeeper Jake Gleeson and defender Ryan Kawulok and Timbers Homegrown Players Steven Evans and Brent Richards. The Timbers U-23s assembled an historic campaign in 2010, posting a perfect 16-0-0 record during the regular season on their way to becoming the first undefeated champion in PDL history.



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