The Toronto FC are about to have the biggest off season for any team in MLS’s history. With respect to David Beckham joining the LA Galaxy, and Clint Dempsey joining the Seattle Sounders, these moves outstrip them all.
Jermain Defoe and Michael Bradley represent two of the best talents to ever grace an MLS pitch. With their status as national team members for England and the USA respectively, their addition heralds a new day for Toronto FC.
Since joining the league in 2007, the club has never finished higher than 11th, and has yet to make the play-offs despite a world class facility and one of the biggest budgets in the MLS.
Joining Defoe and Bradley, will be Dwayne De Rosario, the clubs all time leader in goals, and the captain of the Canadian men’s national team.
De Rosario previously left the club under bad terms, but in the years since has mellowed. At 36 he knows his time is almost up, and it seems almost fitting that he returns to Toronto FC as they begin a new era.
New MLSE CEO Tim Leiweke, who was the main figure in bringing Beckham to America, has made a bigger impact in Toronto sports than any executive before. His vision is only matched by his ability to convince the higher ups that this will all be worth it. I’m quite happy he can do so.
In these two signings Toronto FC will have doled out almost $100 million in transfer fees and salary. The unique part of the MLS Designated Player (DP) system, is that regardless of how much the player makes, his cap hit stays at $390,000.
With the two new DP’s, the club currently have four on the roster, over the limit of three. The other two are Gilberto and Matias Laba. Laba, a midfielder, will likely be the one to go as Bradley will lock down his position.
Toronto FC is on the verge of becoming MLS’s most dominant side, and with the assembled talent and the brain trust behind them, the club has international aspirations.
This marks a new era in the MLS, with so many quality European-level players coming to join the league, and now Toronto FC has the best of them all. This will be an exciting year for the club, and I can’t wait to see how it all works out.