Toronto FC: Jermain Defoe Wants Out – Why He’s Still Here


When was the writing on the wall for Jermain Defoe with Toronto FC?

Was it when Gilberto wrestled the ball from him and proceeded to give us this little gem of a play?

Or was when he realized MLS is a glorified house league by EPL standards? Or how about when GM Tim Bezbatchenko decided to fire Nelson and five other of his coaching staff last month – a staff Defoe had grown to like and respect?

Whatever the reason, Defoe wants out despite tweets to support his teammates, as they struggle to keep their heads above the red line like a child thrashing in a kids pool without their water wings.

While there are a number of reasons why TFC wants to keep Defoe around until the end of the season, the absolute biggest has nothing to do with what’s taking place on the pitch as the club fights for its playoff life. It has everything to do with Defoe’s former home, Tottenham.

When Defoe joined back in January, Tottenham also signed a four year sponsorship deal with TFC that would see their products sold and brand advertised all around BMO field among other outlets.

Call me naive, but it would look pretty foolish of TFC to have Tottenham ads and Defoe Tottenham jerseys up for sale at the stands, when Defoe is off playing for another EPL team.

Toronto FC forward Jermain Defoe (18) battles Tottenham Hotspur defender Younes Kaboul (4) for the ball during the first half at BMO Field back in July. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

This, my friends, is the fundamental reason why Defoe is still in Toronto.

He doesn’t just represent himself; he’s representing TFC’s chance to be taken seriously by their fans after so many years of pathetic play and management. If he were to leave now, it would be a black eye Toronto FC would be unable to recover from any time soon, and that’s really saying something for a team as historically bad as this.

Regardless, with the architect of that deal, Tim Leiweke, on his way out and Defoe seemingly following him to the door, all could be forgiven if Toronto can at least secure a playoff spot in the next month with or without Defoe.

That is what all this was about to begin with right? And make no mistake; the onus is just as much on Defoe as it is on TFC and MLSE.

He knew what he was walking into, a club that has never made the playoffs in seven years of existence in a league that would be considered Football League Two by English standards. He’s making just over $8 million this year in a world class city and the team is now challenging for a playoff spot thanks to his play.

Home sickness and level of play be damned, Defoe needs to take a look around and realize he could be a part of something really special, in a town desperate for a winner of any kind.

His attitude right now sounds like its coming from a man who doesn’t understand the true value of self-marketing and opportunity. What he should be doing is taking some notes from the trailblazer of euro players in America – fellow Englishman David Beckham.

Beckham is a perfect example of a guy who came to this side of the world, won an MLS cup, and managed to keep his name and brand on the tip of many soccer enthusiasts tongues long after he should have faded away. He also managed to get himself back to Europe for both AC Milan and Paris Saint-Germain in his late 30s.

Defoe is a good seven years younger than Beckham and could still very well play his last days in Europe, but doing it this way just seems like bad PR and bad business for everyone involved.

I don’t know enough about the guy to judge him, I just wish he could at least finished the year with us before airing his concerns. Really man, you had a month and a half at the most, the EPL will still be there come November.

With that said, I’m now talking straight to you Mr. Defoe, and I think I speak for a few fans when I say this:

Dear Jermain, it’s the MLS, what did you expect? Michael Bradley aside, you’re getting paid more than the rest of the team combined. You’re the heart and soul of the offense, and you could be competing for a title in a city where there’s more English pubs with fish and chips than the Queen has wrinkles.


By all means man, if you want to go ride the bench in the EPL for a fraction of the pay like you were before we got you, go right ahead.

Jermain Defoe and MLSE President Tim Leiweke during happier times back in May Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Alright, back to you reader.

At the end of the day, this clubs near future rests on Defoe’s shoulders and whether he wants to compete. It has been painfully clear that no one else on this team can score, and if Toronto FC is willing to turn down a record amount of money from Leicester City and QPR, then why the hell not should he give it all he’s got?

I’ll give Defoe this, every time he’s stepped on the pitch, it really does look like he has given it all he’s got. Here’s hoping he gives us at least one last push and (finally!) takes us to the playoffs.

And all it took was a deal to be Tottenham’s b*$#@ and a disgruntled Englishmen.

God Save the Queen!