Two Timbers players arrested on DUII charges overnight
Two Portland Timbers players were booked into Clackamas County jail on DUII charges late Monday night, per records from the sheriff's office website.
Liam Ridgewell, a 32-year-old team captain, and Jake Gleeson, a 26-year-old goalkeeper, both posted $7,500 bail for their respective charges.
Call for help gone wrong
Police said Gleeson crashed his BMW into the back of a friend's SUV, deploying his airbags. He then apparently called Ridgewell to pick him up from the scene, and the woman in the SUV drove off.
An OnStar-like service in Gleeson's BMW alerted authorities to the crash, and both players were at the scene when Lake Oswego police arrived. Sgt. Tom Hamman said officers found both Ridgewell and Gleeson to be intoxicated during field sobriety tests. Both refused a breath-test, per police.
Police were able to track down the person Gleeson rear-ended, who turned out to be a friend of both players. Sgt. Hamman said she was neither intoxicated nor injured.
Authorities cited Gleeson for reckless endangering and reckless driving in addition to the DUII.
There was no immediate information available about the cause of the crash.
Both players were scheduled to appear in court Nov. 16 at 3 p.m.
From bad to worse
Portland (12-14-8) finished the season just one day prior to the arrests -- without a win on the road and out of playoff contention.
The Timbers, one of four teams vying for three open playoff spots in the Western Conference at the start of the day Sunday, did not have starters Liam Ridgewell and Diego Chara for the match against the Whitecaps because of yellow card accumulation.
The Timbers were eliminated from the CONCACAF Champions League on Wednesday night when they played to a 1-1 draw with Costa Rica's Deportivo Saprissa at Portland's Providence Park.
It was the final match for Timbers midfielder Jack Jewsbury, who has played for 14 MLS seasons, with his final six coming in Portland.
Impact with the Timbers
Ridgewell, a 32-year-old Englishman, is the team's captain. He has several years’ experience playing at the highest level of soccer in the British Premiere League. Ridgewell is also the team's highest paid player at over $1 million a season.
The 26-year-old Gleeson has been with the Timbers since 2011, and was groomed to be the starting goalkeeper. The New Zealand native finally took over that roll this season when Adam Kwarasey was injured and then traded.
So far, MLS hasn't handed down any sort of punishment, but there's a chance the players could face multiple game suspensions. The fact that Gleeson and Ridgewell aren't American citizens could affect their work status with the Timbers, though this is not always the case.
Team and player statements
- I am profoundly sorry that I let down a community that has graciously supported not only me, but my teammates as well. I take full responsibility for my behavior and will do whatever is necessary to regain the trust of the Timbers organization, the fans and Major League Soccer.
Sean J. Riddell - Attorney for Liam Ridgewell
- My client would like to apologize to the community, the Timbers organization and his family for his recent arrest on the charge of Driving Under the Influence. He understands that he is a role model and looks forward to earning back the trust of the community.
The Portland Timbers FC released this official statement around 5:30 p.m. Tuesday:
- All members of the Portland Timbers organization have a responsibility to this community and are expected to represent the club and city the right way. Players and staff are held accountable for their actions, and this matter will be handled appropriately. This is a serious matter, and we are disappointed in the events that resulted in these charges.
Response from the MLS
Major League Soccer officials said they are conducting an investigation into the arrest. Officials said they are working with police, the Timbers organization and the MLS Players Union to look into the incident.
Gleeson and Ridgewell must have an assessment from a Substance Abuse & Behavioral Health Program (SABH) doctor, as per MLS policy.
Both men are ineligible for play until they’re cleared by the SABH Program doctors and MLS completes the investigation.
[The Associated Press contributed to this report.]