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Tega Ikoba, fourth academy player to sign with MLS Timbers, has trained with the team; two Beavers go in SuperDraft

UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA PHOTO - Forward Tega Ikoba signed a Homegrown Player contract with the Portland Timbers.The Portland Timbers first announced acquisition this offseason is 18-year-old forward Tega Ikoba.

Signed through the 2024 season out of the Timbers youth academy as a Homegrown Player, Ikoba scored six goals and had two assists in the fall as a freshman at North Carolina.

A 6-foot-4 striker with pace, Ikoba made seven appearances with T2 in 2020 and spent the preseason in 2020 and 2021 with the Timbers, scoring a goal in a 2021 preseason win over Phoenix rising.

While he figures to be a developmental player as a rookie behind forwards Felipe Mora, it's possible Ikoba gets a few first-team looks and could certainly play for T2 this season.

He is the fourth Timbers Academy player to sign with the MLS club, following Marco Farfan, Hunter Sulte and Blake Bodily.

Portland drafts three — Also Tuesday, the Timbers made three picks in the MLS SuperDraft, selecting winger Justin Rasmussen out of Grand Canyon and defenders Julian Bravo out of Santa Clara and Sivert Haugli out of Virginia Tech.

Playing in a new position at left wingback in the fall, Rasmussen had nine goals and six assists as a fifth-year senior at Grand Canyon. At GCU, he played four seasons under former FC Dallas coach and this past season under Leonard Griffin, who spent three seasons as an assistant coach at the University of Portland.

A left-footed player who played in midfield in his first four seasons, Rasmussen might be a candidate to develop into a left back as a professional — a position where the Timbers currently lack depth.

A midfielder for Santa Clara, Bravo is most likely to play as an outside back at the pro level.

Haugli, a 6-5 centerback from Norway, started 71 games over four seasons at Virginia Tech. He scored three of his four career goals as a senior in the fall.

None of the SuperDraft picks is guaranteed a contract with the Timbers. As second- and third-round picks, Bravo (pick 55) and Haugli (pick 83) most likely land with the reborn T2 squad in MLS NEXT Pro, should they impress in preseason camp.

Two Beavers drafted — Oregon State had two players selected in the SuperDraft: forward Tsiki Ntsabeleng went 28th to FC Dallas and midfielder Sofiane Djeffal went 36th to D.C. United. The Beavers have had 14 players drafted dating back to 2000.

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