I am sure Liam Ridgewell is a familiar name to you all, seeing as the defender has made over 200 Premier League appearances but what you might not know is that he is now in his fifth season playing with Portland Timbers. In that time, he has won the MLS Cup and been named as an MLS all-star.
The defender joined the Timbers partway through their 2014 season after leaving West Brom. Not long after his arrival, he played the second half in the MLS All Stars’ 2-1 win over Bayern Munich, a game in which Bradley Wright-Phillips scored.
The following season, he went on to make 37 MLS appearances as he captained his side to victory in the MLS Cup, their only win to date.
Ridgewell continues to put in solid displays for the Timbers and has contributed seven goals from defence in his time with the club, six of which have been at home meaning he has his fair share of log slices from Timber Joey (Timbers players are given a slice of a tree trunk every time they score at home with Timber Joey cutting the slice to the joy of the crowd during the game).
I recently got the chance to ask the former Birmingham City defender a few questions ahead of the launch of his clothing line’s new range. The 33-year-old launched Thomas Royall with fellow footballers Sam Saunders and John Terry.
English Players Abroad: What would you say is the biggest difference between the football played in England and America? Were you impressed with the standard of football in the States?
Liam Ridgewell: The quickness of the game back home in the Premier League is the biggest difference. However, I was very impressed with the standard and quality of players here. MLS are working hard on encouraging and developing the youth system and schemes. This is a great reassurance.
EPA: How does your MLS Cup win compare with winning the League Cup in England?
LR: It definitely left the team and myself on a major high. I wanted to come to the Timbers to make an impression and win. Not just come here and play out my career. We worked very hard to build a team to win the MLS Cup and I’m happy and confident to say this is what we achieved.
EPA: Would you recommend a move to the MLS to other English players?
LR: Definitely. For anyone looking to experience something different in their career, this is the place to be.
EPA: Finally, can you tell us a bit more about the Thomas Royall brand?
LR: Thomas Royall is a brand, that not only myself but the whole team believes in, massively. We have great faith in our small team and our collections. We are already taking over the swimwear arena and have our sights set on the travel apparel to complete the experience.
The way people view their choice of evening outfits is the way everyone is starting to view their swim wear during the day and evening. That is our vision too. We want to bridge the gap by introducing stylish and fashionable swimwear that can of course be transitional. We are expanding and want to be a brand that you can come and shop with us for all your Summer holiday needs with the whole family covered.