Welshman earns summer camp invite to MLS Portland Timbers U23 team

It's a familiar sight every summer at the Sigma International ID Camp. Academy graduate Emery Welshman can usually be seen hard at work assisting the camp coaches setting up training fields, lugging nets and equipment back and forth and working with younger players.

Not this year however. This summer, Welshman gets to go to camp.

Welshman, who will be a senior at Oregon State University in the fall, has been added to the roster of the MLS Portland Timbers U23 team. He'll spend the summer training with the professional team in what should be a perfect chance to impress the professional scouts before next year's MLS draft.

"Yeah, I think that I'll have to pass that torch on to the younger players this summer," said Welshman, in an interview from Corvalis, Ore. "I'll miss seeing everyone, but this is a pretty exciting opportunity."

"This is the type of situation I want to be in. It's what Bobby and I had planned to do, and it is working now," he said.

Sigma Technical Director Bobby Smyrniotis is pleased with Welshman's progress and believes that being close to a MLS team will only help him next year when he enters his draft year.

"From our discussions with the club, Emery will train with both the U23 and first team at the Timbers and he will be a known quantity to the staff at the club ahead of his senior year at Oregon State. All of us here at SIGMA wish him a good season".

"He will be with a club that has monitored his progress throughout all of last year at Oregon State and it makes good football sense for the Timbers to have one of the top players in the PAC 12 with them," said Smyrniotis. "Emery has been with SIGMA for five years and his game keeps on getting better. Interest from teams in the MLS keep on growing and it is a result of his hard work on and off the field.

Welshman had a successful first season at Oregon State, scoring three goals and leading the team in assists with seven. His breakout performance earned him First-team All-Conference honours in the competitive Pac-12. He was the fifth player in school history to achieve the honour, joining the former Beaver and current TFC striker Ryan Johnston in that regard.

He transferred to Oregon State after two seasons at Siena College, where he compiled 18 goals and six assists in 35 games from 2009-10.

The Mississauga native was upset he was not considered for the recent Canadian Under-23 team for the CONCACAF Olympic qualifying tournament. He had hoped to play alongside SIGMA FC teammate Kyle Bekker. However, he has used it as motivation to try and springboard to the next level.

"I am getting ready for my turn, and hopefully when my turn comes, I will make the best of it," said Welshman. "My opportunity will come. When you look at it, it really matters when the men's senior national team comes calling. And I want to be ready for that."