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'You've got to earn the right to play' - Clive Charles


Clive Charles

Club Founder Clive Charles.

A Player:

Born in 1951, Clive Charles grew up playing street soccer before joining West Ham United youth teams at the age of 12. When he turned 15, Clive signed with the English First Division club West Ham United as an apprentice, following in the footsteps of his older brother John. Clive turned professional and joined the first team in 1970. The club loaned him briefly (1971-1972) to the Montreal Olympique in Canada - part of the North American Soccer League (NASL). In 1972, the defender made the first of his 14 League and 1 Cup appearances for “The Hammers”.

Clive made the move to Cardiff City (English Second Division Club) in 1974. While with the club he made over 100 appearances as a defender and became the first black man to captain a Premier League team at the age of 24. From Cardiff City, Clive returned to the NASL in 1978 to play for the Portland Timbers until 1981. He made 72 appearances over 4 seasons, was a 3-time NASL All-Star, and was named to the All-Time NASL Team by Pele. From the Portland Timbers, Clive moved to the Major Indoor Soccer League, playing for Pittsburgh, Phoenix, and ending his playing career with the Los Angeles Lazers in 1982.

A Coach:


Before taking over the men’s program at the University of Portland in 1986 and the women’s team in 1989, Clive coached at Reynolds High School starting in 1983.

While at the University of Portland, the men’s and women’s teams won 13 conference championships and earned 20 NCAA playoff berths – including 9 Final Four appearances. Clive amassed an amazing 439 wins - 144 losses - 44 ties record, becoming just 1 of 5 coaches in NCAA Soccer History to have won more than 400 games. Clive owns 4 Far West Region and 7 West Coast Conference Coach of the Year awards. In 2002, Clive led the Portland Pilots Women’s Team to their first NCAA National Championship Title, defeating Santa Clara 2-1 in overtime. He was named the Women’s Soccer Coach of the Year in 2002 by Soccer Buzz for his efforts.

Clive served as the Head Coach of the Women’s U-20 National Team from 1993-1996. In 1995, U.S. Men’s national Team Head Coach, Steve Sampson, named Clive as his assistant. He served along side Sampson at the 1998 FIFA World Cup in France. From 1996-2000, Clive served as the Head Coach of the Men’s Olympic Team, culminating in the 2000 Summer Games in Australia. Clive led the U.S. Under 23 Men’s National Team to its best-ever fourth place finish at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney.

A Founder:

Clive founded F.C. Portland Academy in 1987 with the key philosophy that: “Through the game of soccer there is an opportunity to prepare and develop young people for the challenges of life.” The Academy continues striving to uphold Clive’s vision for soccer and player development both on and off the field.

An Inspiration:

Clive Charles was inducted into the United States Adult Soccer Association’s (USASA) Hall of Fame in early August 2002 and the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame in August 2003, shortly before he passed away after a 3 year battle with prostate cancer. On August 29, 2003, the Portland Timbers retired Clive’s #3 jersey – the first uniform ever to be retired in the nearly 80-year history of PGE Park.

“I’ve always been impressed about how he cares more about you as a person than as a player. He wants to establish a relationship beyond your four years playing for him. That’s why he has had such a profound effect on everyone” --Shannon MacMillan

“Clive gave and cultivated respect to us and between us. This is a big ‘life prepare.’ You don’t let your teammates, friends and associates down.” --Kasey Keller

“When Clive wins, it’s great for him, but I don’t think it’s top on his list. Players becoming complete, living up to their abilities – that, I think makes him most happy.” --Steve Cherundolo

“Coaching is not just about the “X’s” and “O’s”, but more about management of people. Clive understood what was best for the individual, the team, the program and the institution. He was able to achieve that perfect balance and that’s what made Clive Charles a great coach.” --Jerry Smith, Santa Clara Women’s Soccer Coach

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