Minnesota Stars Captain Kyle Altman Has Trial with Portland Timbers
Kyle Altman is back home in Albuquerque, New Mexico now. When IMS caught up to him he was kicking the ball around in 63° weather after just finishing a work out. But just a few weeks earlier he was training with the Portland Timbers, a move orchestrated by Minnesota Stars head coach Manny Lagos so Timbers coach John Spencer could take a look at the central defender. The Stars coach believes that Altman is good enough to make the step up to MLS.
Altman was a key member of the 2010 and 2011 Minnesota Stars team. Under head coach Manny Lagos, Altman made the change from midfielder to central defense early in 2010 when the team found themselves short at the position. Altman caught on quickly and became one of the more consistent players on last year’s squad as he paired with then captain Andres Arango.
Arango left to play for Tampa in the offseason and Altman soon took over the duties of captain and helped lead his team to the 2011 NASL Championship which they won in a two-legged total goals series.
The Timbers did some training in their first week after the MLS season and before the Portland players dispersed. Altman was invited in for those sessions and trained with the team 3 of the 4 days he was there. He said even though the MLS season was over, Portland had their full team there training – minus a few guys who had some minor surgeries. “I thought maybe the guys would be taking it a little easy since their season was over,” said Altman. “But I could tell a lot of the guys felt the pressure to compete for places and there was a high intensity level.”
“We mainly played 11-a-side. I think I did really well. At first I was a bit nervous training with Portland and playing at a higher tempo. It took me a day or two to catch on but really I felt right at home from the beginning.”
Altman says he knew some of the Portland players from second division play over the last several years. “Mamadou “Futty” Danso (USL Portland Timbers), David Horst (Austin Aztex, Puerto Rico Islanders ), Eddie Johnson (Austin Aztex) and Kalif Alhassan (USL Portland Timbers) were all players I knew from playing 2nd division. Because of that I’d been following them this past season. From a social standpoint I knew who they were and they knew who I was so it made it a lot easier. They are all really nice guys.”
“Afterwards I had a meeting with John Spencer and he said he’d be in touch,” continued Altman. “I know Portland is looking for at least one center back. Between Manny’s contacts at a higher level and my agent, I’m hoping to get another trial lined up with someone. The Stars have my option and I’m looking forward to coming back next season. But if things don’t work out I’ll also be working closely with the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio where I have applied to medical school.” The Albuquerque native says he wants to make sure he is doing the right thing.
“I’m definitely still looking at that,” said Altman, whose father is an orthopedist in Albuquerque. “I’m not getting any younger, so at some point I’d like to further my career as a doctor. I just need to figure out when the right time is. But right now I’m really enjoying playing soccer and I’d really like to keep doing that.”