There have been sweet moments of success and long stretches of separation during Greg Flakus' relationship with sports radio.

There have been sweet moments of success and long stretches of separation during Greg Flakus' relationship with sports radio.

The Medford native's love for calling games never diminished, but the realities of the profession eventually forced him to change his vocation many years ago.

"I caught the bug early but never cracked through to the top," the 59-year-old says. "It's tough to get that break into the major leagues."

Now the president of a Vancouver, Wash., based food and beverage consultant company, Flakus has rekindled the old flame. Earlier this month, he was named a fill-in radio play-by-play voice for the Timbers, Portland's new Major League Soccer franchise.

"This gives me a chance to go back to what I love to do for fun," says Flakus, who resides in Vancouver, Wash.

Flakus' analysis will be broadcast on Portland's Sportsradio 95.5 The Game (www.955thegame.com).

Fans of some previous Timbers teams that played in the old North American Soccer League may recognize Flakus' silky smooth inflection.

Flakus, who grew up and graduated from high school in Medford, was the voice of the Timbers from 1977 to 1981. He pursued sports broadcasting as a full-time profession for around 15 years, covering high school, college and professional teams.

Flakus is back in the game after mailing some old tapes from his earlier radio days to Mike Golub, the Timbers' chief operating officer. About three weeks later, Flakus received an important phone call.

"(Golub) was really excited to have someone who had connections with the old Timbers," Flakus says.

As a child, Flakus dreamed about covering a professional basketball or baseball team.

When he was just 15 years old, Flakus was asked by longtime radio manager Dick Huston to re-create a Medford Giants minor league baseball game at the KYJC studio. Flakus had gathered information over the phone before, but had never taken on such a large responsibility.

But Flakus pulled it off, and he kept coming back.

Flakus, who is the president of GF Strategies Food and Beverage Consultants, graduated from the University of Oregon with a journalism degree in 1975.

Now, the sports fan is knocking the dust off his play-by-play skills. Earlier this month, he was given the unexpected opportunity to call a preseason match between Portland and one of its greatest rivals, the Seattle Sounders, on March 4. He felt a little unprepared, but did a fine job.

"I didn't get a call from management, so I couldn't have done too bad," Flakus said with a laugh.

Flakus' first regular-season call will be at Dallas on June 25, when the Timbers take on FC Dallas. He'll also work Portland's matches in the District of Columbia (Aug. 27), Philadelphia (Sept. 10), New York (Sept. 24) and Salt Lake City (Oct. 22).

Flakus says he will get to work up to 10 games during the squad's 36-match regular season. Veteran broadcaster Andy McNamara will be the main voice of the Timbers. He previously did play-by-play for the NASL Timbers.

Flakus has been impressed by the region's interest in the team. The Timbers sold all 12,500 season tickets, as well as single-game tickets for the squad's home debut against Chicago on April 14 and the match against the Sounders on July 10.

Portland will play in the newly renovated Jeld-Wen Field, which used to be PGE Park.

When Flakus is not working a match, he'll be in the stands enjoying the action.

"I purchased a season ticket, so I'll be at most of the games," Flakus says. "(The Timbers were) kind enough to give me a season ticket, so I can bring my wife Carol or a friend.

"What I like about it more than anything is that it's a family sport," continues Flakus, whose mother, 92-year-old Virginia Batzer, lives in Medford. "It's still affordable for families who want to come and see a sporting event."

Flakus doesn't have a famous saying yet, but he's toyed around with a few ideas.

"When I was doing Timbers games, I would say, 'Timbers score!'" Flakus says. "I don't have any trademarks yet, but maybe I will come up with boom shakalaka or something."

The Timbers, who lost to reigning champion Colorado 3-1 in their first MLS game on March 19, travel to play Toronto FC at 11 a.m. today. The game will be shown on Fox Sports Northwest.

For more information on the Timbers, visit www.portlandtimbers.com.

Reach reporter Dan Jones at 541-776-4499, or email djones@mailtribune.com