- Feb. 27, 2012
Though he played just three seasons for the Portland Timbers, Glenn Myernick wore the no. 2 more than any other player in club history. From 1980-82, Myernick was a mainstay in defense as the NASL Timbers era came to a close.
Myernick was an accomplished collegiate player at Hartwick College in New York. He was second team All-America in 1974 before joining the US Olympic team for its 1976 qualifying campaign. Though the US failed to qualify for the Montreal games, it was not the last time he represented his country. His final year of college netted even more awards in ’76 as Myernick was named first team All-America, reached the NCAA Final Four and culminated with the prestigious Hermann Trophy.
As the top pick in the 1976 NASL draft, Myernick joined Dallas Tornado where he excelled in his three seasons. In the winter of 1979/80, the 25-year old defender joined Wichita Wings of the Major Indoor Soccer League – playing alongside Portland Timbers players Garry Ayre and Willie Anderson. In January 1980, Myernick was traded to Portland for a first round draft pick and cash.
Prior to his arrival in Portland, Myernick was capped ten times by the senior US national team. After moving to the Timbers, he did not make another national team appearance.
1980 was a seminal year in Portland as Timber company Louisiana Pacific took control of the club and spent extravagantly in the hopes of increasing the talent level in the side. Along with Myernick’s trade the Timbers signed Dutch star Robbie Rensenbrink, Scotland international Willie Donachie, English players John Pratt, Stuart Lee and Gary Collier and NASL veteran Bernie Fagan. With all the new players in town, joining a strong core of players already in Portland, it was Myernick who was selected captain by manager Don Megson.
Unfortunately for Myernick, injuries limited him to just ten games in his first season in Portland. He did record one assist but only two players played less in what was poor season for the Timbers. In the offseason, Myernick had recovered enough to feature in thirteen of the club’s eighteen indoor games, scoring once and helping Portland reach the playoffs in its first indoor season.
1981 was a better year for Myernick and the Timbers. He recorded five assists while starting nineteen of the club’s thirty-two games as Portland reached the playoffs for the final time in the NASL era. He assisted on John Bain’s match winner against Seattle Sounders in the final Rose Festival Cup match in mid-June and again provided service on a crucial Ally Brown goal against Dallas in a late-season win.
Though the Timbers crashed out of the playoffs against San Diego Sockers in a best-of-three series in ’81, Myernick was finally healthy. He played in fifteen of eighteen indoor games in 1981/82 before forming a well respected back line in the Timbers final season of 1982. Alongside Donachie, Collier and South Korean international Young-Jeung Cho, Myernick featured in thirty-one of team’s thirty-two matches, only sitting out the club’s last ever game on August 22 against Seattle. Eleven assists for the Timbers ranks Myernick twelfth on the club’s all-time list, fifth among defenders.
After the Timbers folded in 1982, Myernick spent two seasons with Tampa Bay Rowdies before the league itself folded in 1985. He spent four seasons as a collegiate assistant coach before moving into an assistant’s role with the US U20 national team. From 1989-96, Myernick assisted the U20 and U23 teams while serving as head coach of the U17 team from 1993-95. In 1997 he took over as the second manager of the Colorado Rapids, becoming the first former Timbers player to be a head coach in Major League Soccer. He reached the MLS Cup final in his first season and led the Rapids to the playoffs ever year of his tenure.
In 2002, Myernick became an assistant coach for the US senior national team under Bruce Arena. He spent four years with Arena, including serving as head coach in the 2005 Gold Cup final while Arena was suspended, leading the US to its third title in penalties over Panama.
Mynerick passed away in 2006 after suffering a heart attack at the age of 51. Though he is often remembered for his long and prolific coaching record, Glenn Myernick was a vital part of the final three NASL Portland Timbers teams. His no. 2 is the most recognizable, and arguably most significant in club history.