The Rogue Valley Soccer Club has a new friend, and this one will give the 38-year-old youth club a whole new identity.
RVSC will change its name to the Rogue Valley Timbers after recently forming a partnership with Major League Soccer's Portland Timbers.
The RV Timbers became the fourth youth club to commit to the adidas Timbers Alliance, with elite Portland-area clubs the Eastside Timbers, Vancouver United Timbers and Westside Timbers joining up with the professional soccer squad back in February.
As a member of the Timbers Alliance, the RV Timbers have access to coaching resources and curriculum, while also having the ability to channel top boys and girls youth players toward the Timbers' development programs and the Timbers Academy.
It's a partnership that will benefit both sides, said RV Timbers Director of Coaching Kevin Primerano.
"What it means is there's a clear pathway to the professional level for kids in Southern Oregon," said Primerano. "That's the big picture piece of it. The more realistic and beneficial aspect is having that relationship with the professional team from Oregon. We can tap into their resources and we can work in conjunction with the directors of the four alliances and use the shared curriculum that (the Timbers) provide to the coaches."
"We have some opportunities for select teams to be formed from the four alliance clubs," Primerano added. "We can take the best players from each club and put them together for different events.
"Those (Portland-area) clubs are three of the best clubs in the state. It's an honor to be mentioned in the same breath with them."
The Portland Timbers are currently competing in their second season as an MLS team.
Gaining traction throughout the state and producing homegrown talent were some of the aspects the Timbers looked at when welcoming the Southern Oregon club to the alliance program.
"It benefits the Timbers because we are allowing these organizations to use the Timbers logo," said Timbers Youth Academy Director Adam Smith. "It's brand awareness by getting the name out there and showing the community what the Timbers have to offer.
"But it's a two-way benefit. (The Timbers) play in the highest standard of soccer you can play in, outside of the national team, in this country. We move in concert with the alliance clubs and anything that benefits the Timbers will benefit them."
Smith said alliance club members will have access to hosting team events at Timbers Stadium and the opportunity for Portland players and coaches to run clinics and sign autographs as part of the partnership.
"We're not just looking to increase player standards," he said. "We recognize the grass roots as well as the elite players. We're making sure that we don't leave anybody out. And we make sure that any player in the system will have the opportunity to reach playing at a high level. We'll give them the tools to do that."
All four alliance clubs will incorporate the Timbers brand into their name. The RV Timbers, which boasts 1,500 participants ranging in age from 5 to 18, will also make a switch in uniform color. The long-standing blue and white colors will give way to red and white uniform colors.
The new partnership offers grander opportunities to all those involved with the club, Primerano said.
"It's something I'm very excited about," said Primerano. "Being in Southern Oregon and being somewhat isolated from the epicenter of soccer in the state always makes it more challenging to get recognized, or to find opportunities for individual players to get recognized and maybe set up with a college. Now we can tell our players, 'Look, if you do things right we can show you a way to these academy teams.'
"I can see now, by putting them in the right environment, that their dreams should be more attainable."
Reach reporter Kevin Goff at 541-776-4483, or email email@example.com