The University of Akron's junior defender Bryan Gallego has forgone his senior year after he agreed to the terms of Homegrown contract from the Portland Timbers of the MLS on Wednesday, Jan. 15.
Gallego becomes the most recent Zip to join his former coach Caleb Porter in Portland alongside fellow former UA players Darlington Nagbe, Michael Nanchoff, Steve Zakuani and Ben Zemanski. He is also the sixth Akron player to sign a Homegrown contract within the past year, joining the likes of defender Chad Barson and midfielder Will Trapp of the Crew, midfielder Scott Caldwell of the New England Revolution, midfielder Dillon Serna of the Colorado Rapids and the Seattle Sounders and U.S. international standout defender DeAndre Yedlin.
Portland received the Homegrown rights from Gallego from the New York Red Bulls as part of a trade that occured in December 2012. Gallego was a member of the Red Bulls Academy from 2007-2011 as per GoZips.com.
He started 20 games for the Zips last fall, becoming the leader of one of the best defensive back lines in the country, holding their opponents to one goal or fewer in all but three games while also posting nine shutouts.
Gallego, who earned All-MAC honors for the third time in his career following the 2013 season, was key for the dominance that the Zips commanded in their final third, keeping clean sheets against nationally ranked opponents: No. 15 Wake Forest and No. 17 Michigan State.
He also played on the Timbers' develoment team, the Timbers U-23 team, suiting up in 10 matches and helping the Green and White to the Premier Development League's Western Conference final. He has also played on the U.S. U-20 and U-18 national teams.
The Kennelon, N.J., native was also part of the team that placed second in the Northwest Division and earned PDL Team of the Week in Week 6. He was the leader of a back line that recorded a division-best six shutouts and only allowed a division-low 12 goals and he won the U-23s Player of the Year.
The young U.S. international has been a part of the U-18 National Team pool for three years from 2009-2011 and served as the team's captain and helped team reached a third-place finish in the 2011 Northern Ireland Milk Cup .He also played fpr the U.S. U-20s during the Copa Chivas in 2010 and was part of the national team's player pool in 2012.