From top shelf to bookshelf, Timbers goalie finding success as w - KPTV - FOX 12

From top shelf to bookshelf, Timbers goalie finding success as writer

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PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

Reading the opponents attack and learning the field, Jeff Attinella has been scanning the league for five years, either in a backup role or starting in goal.

Wednesday will be his sixth time in the starting 11 for the Portland Timbers.

His flying late game stop preserved the victory last Friday against the New York Red Bulls, earning Attinella his first log slab, something he will always remember.

“It's an unforgettable moment,” he told FOX 12. “It's when you officially feel like a Timber.”

The fifth-year pro and first season timber from Clearwater, Florida, is patiently waiting for that coveted number one job in goal having worked behind Nick Rimando during his first four years in Major League Soccer with Real Salt Lake.

“It's tough when you are watching, it's really tough when you are watching,” he said. “At this level, you always want to be on the field, but if I learned one thing about Nick, it's being patient and learn from watching and just trying to make the most of your opportunity.”

The 28-year-old married father of a nearly 1-year-old daughter, Attinella has taken off the gloves and saved a few good stories, writing and publishing four children’s books this summer.

“It's something to take your mind off soccer because as the season drags on,” he explained. “You have soccer, you have family - it's just a great way to have an outlet to do something fun and something enjoyable off the field.”

Attinella said his books have covered sports and science.

“We have ‘The Curse Ends: The story of the Chicago Cubs,’ 'Cleveland Wins a Championship’ about the Lebron James saga, 'The Greatest Ever: The Story of a Coach, a Quarterback and a Comeback,’ about the Patriots,” he said. “We have another one, too. it's 'The Great Space Race' that is just a story about the race to the moon and less political and more about the back and forth that the US and Russia were doing.”

The goalie said he doesn’t have a pitch for a soccer title, yet.

“I mean, soccer consumes 99.9 percent of my life, so I'll leave the other little bit for outside of soccer,” he said. “But I have been working on a couple of them, so we'll see down the pipeline if they show up.”

Between practices and parenting, Attinella said he has had to get creative to find time for writing.

“When we are traveling. There is a lot of downtime when you are traveling,” he said. “A lot of plane rides, a lot of hotels so that is a good time to do it.

The enterprise is a family business. His wife Kendall does all of the editing, his mother-in-law runs the day-to-day operations and his father-in-law started the publishing company titled It Had To Be Told.

“When I think back on my childhood and I just only cared about sports. It was maybe the sports newspaper. Maybe it was Sports Illustrated for Kids, but there was nothing like this,” he said. “I look at these stories now and I think, ‘If I had this back in the day, it's kind of like reading a '30 for 30.’’ It's awesome. It's fun and it really connects with kids that are sports fans and parents that are sports fans to get into reading.”

Attinella hopes that his efforts can get kids as interested in words on a page as they are in action of the pitch.

Reaching the reluctant reader is something that we've had a lot of success with. Sports families, maybe they aren't really into reading but it's such an important thing, especially nowadays with technology and so many different outlets that kids can be occupied,” he said. “It's important to pick up a book and flip through the pages and really enjoy it.”

While Attinella is working on getting his books on the shelves locally at Powell's, fans can find them for now at ItHadToBeTold.com and also on Amazon.

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