Johnson new Timbers captain, but Jewsbury still has a big role

PORTLAND, Ore. - The Portland Timbers kick off their MLS season this Sunday at home against the New York Red Bulls with a new team captain.

New head coach Caleb Porter has named Will Johnson, one of the new members of the club, the team captain.

Johnson might have a baby face, but he's known for his toughness.

"A little bit of a bite. A little bit of nastiness - never backing down to anybody," he says.

How tough is the 26-year-old midfielder? Well, when he was in the championship game with Real Salt Lake, he stared and played 45 minutes with food poisoning.

"He's the kind of guy who can kind of grab guys by the scruff of their neck and say, 'Wake up! Let's get going! But also, he has the maturity and emotional intelligence to give positive reinforcement at the right times as well,'" says Porter.

With Johnson wearing the arm band for Portland this year, former captain Jack Jewsbury will take on a new role as the club captain.

"He'll continue to be a presence and a leader on the field and in the locker room and in the community. So there're no issues there," Porter says.

"In my eyes, it's a matter of respect from the club in terms what I do on and off the field and the person that I am. For me not much really changes," Jewsbury says.

Johnson and Jewsbury might get along now they're in Portland, but when they were on different teams it was a different story.

"From the first time I met (Jewsbury) I thought it was going to be a little awkward, because we've had so many battles, you know, said a few things back and forth, but he's been a great guy and he's taught me a lot about the club," says Johnson.

The two team captains say it won't be hard to work together because they have one common goal.

"The way we look at it is that we both of us want to be in a winning organization and the team that makes the playoffs consistently," says Jewsbury.