University of Portland’s Playmaker

Portland Pilot midfielder Rey Ortiz reflects on his time with the LA Galaxy Academy, memories with his late mother, and what it means to him to create for his teammates.

University of Portland midfielder Rey Ortiz loves to create chances for his teammates. “I think assist are as important as scoring goals, when I am playing I try to put my teammates In the best situation possible to score and most importantly I try to create something so our team comes out victorious after the game ends,” Rey explained.

His playmaking days go back long before he became a Portland Pilot. Ortiz joined the LA Galaxy Academy in 2013 and quickly became a star in the system. “Obviously being part of the best MLS club team in the U.S you develop this sense of “Vivesa” awareness,” Ortiz said. “Everyone that surrounds you while playing is a very outstanding player so what that did to me was that it made me develop a certain skill that was going to separate me from the other players on my team since they were all very good. While I was at LA Galaxy, I watched a lot of David Beckham and how he mastered his free kick (as you can see in the video below) and passing routine that separated him from a lot of players in the MLS.”

Ortiz made two appearances for LA Galaxy II in the USL and notched an assist in the fall of 2015. While that was a major step in a potential professional career, he dealt with the biggest of setbacks in his personal life earlier that year, losing his mother to lymphoma.

“I could talk about the memories with my mother for a very long time but if I could choose one it would be when she would take me to the train station so I could be on my way to train with LA Galaxys reserve, that meant a lot to me because she always supported me and my dream of becoming a professional.,” he reflected. When I asked what his favorite food was that she cooked, he answered, “When it comes to food everything she made was delicious but my favorite plate she made was her Mole rojo, every year I go home my grandma makes it for me as a home welcoming plate.”

Home could be considered Southern California, Rey was born in Acapulco, Mexico. He has represented the United States at the U-15 level, but would he be open to potentially switching his soccer allegiance to the Mexican national team system? “It would be a dream to represent El Tri on the biggest stage in the world and if I could I would with no hesitation,” he said.

While that’s a discussion of his soccer future, Ortiz is currently a senior midfielder for the University of Portland. In 57 career matches, he has 22 assists to go along with 12 goals and was on the MAC Hermann Award watch list last year. A former top-25 recruit in the country, it was an interesting decision for Rey to join the Pacific Northwest school. He explained, “What led me to be a Pilot was the recruiting class that Coach Nick was putting together and also the blueprint of where Nick wanted the program to head towards.”

The Pilots will travel to face Loyola Marymount on Saturday before they host the Cal Bears next Tuesday.


Carson A Merk

Reporting live from Sin City, I have covered both RGVFC and Las Vegas Lights FC since their inceptions. I also write profiles to highlight players from the NCAA to USL to NWSL and everywhere in between.