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BRANDON: Rovello Project gains support

by: COURTESY OF UNIVERSITY OF OREGON - Fundraising continues for the Alex Rovello Memorial Project, which will renovate the tennis courts at Berkeley Park in Southeast Portland.Things I'm keeping an eye on:

 The Alex Rovello Memorial Project

Great news on the fundraising drive to renovate the tennis courts at Southeast Portland's Berkeley Park, where the late four-time state champion from Cleveland High learned to play the game:

Nike has established an employee-matched giving site. The company will match any donations by its employees.

The Rovello campaign has raised about two-thirds of the $175,000 needed to repair and improve the two public courts.

"We're up to $110,000, and it's unbelievable, because it's all from individuals, not corporate sponsors," says Geri Rovello, Alex's mom. "We're so appreciative."

The project is still applying for a grant from the United States Tennis Association, and accepting contributions.

The goal is to have the courts renovated by next summer.

Rovello, who recently had a center court named in his honor at the University of Oregon, where he starred for the Ducks, died last spring in a diving accident near Eugene. He was 21.

Plans also call for Rovello to be inducted next year into the Commerce-Cleveland High School Hall of Fame.

  •  Traci Rose

    A shout out to Rose, who is leaving the Trail Blazers after a distinguished 27 years.

    Rose, the team's vice president of community relations and CEO of the Make It Better Foundation, has done just about everything behind the scenes over the years for the Blazers — including a stint having to deal with crusty beat writers like me.

    Through good Blazer times and bad Blazer times, she has been a beacon for the franchise with a heart for community service.

    Starting Jan. 1, she will go to work for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Portland Metro as chief communications and development officer.

    She'll help expand that organization and continue to make a difference in the lives of kids and families in the metro area.

  •  MLS 2014

    If Real Salt Lake coach Jason Kreis leaves for the 2015 MLS expansion New York City Football Club, the Portland Timbers would have to be consensus favorites to represent the Western Conference in the league championship game next year.

    The Timbers might be that already.

    If they can get another season out of 36-year-old goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts like the one he just gave them, who's going to beat them?

    By the way, I can hardly believe the MLS season is over, or will be in two more weeks.

    I thought it would never end — because it almost doesn't. It goes on for more than nine months. You can give birth in less time than that.

    And the league already has announced the schedule for 2014.

  •  MLS officiating

    It's common in soccer to criticize the referee.

    But the Timbers' continual grousing about goals they think should have been allowed and offsides and fouls does get old, and is in poor taste.

    The obvious conclusion for fans, after hearing the whining every time Portland doesn't win a match, is one of two things, neither good for MLS.

    Either the league has it out for the Timbers and plays favorites … or the refereeing is indeed awful.

    Both leave MLS looking minor league.

  •  The NCAA women's soccer playoffs

    Illinois, which upset Portland 4-3 in overtime last Friday at Lincoln, Neb., bowed out Sunday in the round of 16, losing 4-1 to Boston College.

    All four No. 1 seeds remain in contention: Virginia, Virginia Tech, North Carolina and Florida State.

    UCLA, a No. 2 seed, plays North Carolina on Saturday.

    When the bracket was released, some observers — including those at UP — questioned the NCAA giving all the No. 1 seeds to the Atlantic Coast Conference.

    But now six of the eight remaining teams are from the ACC — the four No. 1 seeds, plus BC and Duke.