Toronto FC: Sebastian Giovinco Not Receiving Enough Recognition


Toronto FC: Sebastian Giovinco Not Receiving Enough Recognition

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Look, I would be the first to admit that when Toronto FC first touched base in Southern Ontario, I was not quite sold on them, especially because I was not a major fan of soccer (or for my European friends Calcio and Football). Instead, my allegiances were with the Toronto Maple Leafs (no matter how much torture is involved), the Dallas Cowboys, and the Toronto Blue Jays.

I always watched when Italy played in the World Cup and Euro Cup, proudly showing my Italian heritage with my Azzurri jersey. That led me to watch Serie A calcio (as it is called in Italy), cheering for Juventus who had my favourite Italian players Gianluiggi Buffon, Andrea Pirlo (who just joined the MLS) and Alessandro Del Piero.

In time, that led me to the British Premier League. While I do not religiously follow the BPL, I still follow the major news stories and such.

Eventually, I turned my attention to the only professional soccer league in North America and more specifically, Toronto FC. Dwayne De Rosario was the superstar of the team, but after he left, my interest began to die, leading me to include the Toronto Raptors as another team I kept my eye on.

Jun 24, 2015; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto FC forward Sebastian Giovinco (10) scores a goal on a penalty kick in the second half against the Montreal Impact at BMO Field. The FC beat the Impact 3-1. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Then TFC pulled off the major acquisition of Jermain Defoe and Michael Bradley in the hope of turning around the struggling franchise, which rekindled my interest, until that move crashed and burned. At this point it was beginning to look like the end of my relationship with TFC, but then they brought in Sebastian Giovinco from Juventus.

What better way to grab the attention of a long time Italian soccer fan then to bring the Atomic Ant to Toronto, in the hope that he can make people forget about Defoe? At the time, Giovinco was having a hard time making the Italian team and Juventus did not have much use for Giovinco and as a result he came to Toronto as the highest paid MLS player.

Back when the signing was announced, I wrote a piece stating why this signing was a good one for Toronto FC, as it would be a major upgrade over Defoe. There were the concerns about his size and whether he can adapt to the North American style of play, but that has not been the case.

What TFC and MLSE did wrong was not give Giovinco any type of the hype they gave Defoe. Who can forget the “Bloody Big Deal”  commercial that ran before he came to Toronto? (300,000+ views on YouTube can attest to that, while the first Giovinco video to hit the airs only had 85,000 views.)

Since his arrival to the MLS, there has been no player better than Giovinco. He is second in goals with 11, but he can easily surpass Kei Kamara who has 12 (Giovinco has played fewer games).

He is also fourth in assists with eight (a Toronto FC record) and the most shots on goal with 42. His 11 goals also ties what Defoe had last season, and if “The Reds” could play better defence, they would probably be nearer the top of the standings.

The question I have to ask is why has Giovinco not received much recognition from fans and the league? The reason why I ask is because the All-Star team was recently announced and there was one name left off, and that was Giovinco.

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Imagine that, a player that has received player of the week honours three times this season and scored a hat-trick in the nine minutes against New York FC is not on the All-Star team.  Teammate Bradley made the squad, which does not come as a surprise.

However, if you ask Bradley, he would probably say Giovinco deserves to be on it. The worst part of it all is that MLS commissioner Don Garber added Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard to the team as his own additions, even though neither have played in the league yet.

This should make the blood of TFC supporters boil and yet there is not that much backlash from it. Personally I was unaware of the voting process for the All-Star game and if I was Giovinco would have had my vote.

This is not to say there hasn’t been some response in respect of the Italian’s snub from the starting XI:

The MLS will regret the decision to leave Giovinco off the team. However, at the moment Toronto FC has an opportunity to put him among the other top sports stars in Toronto.

Josh Donaldson has been lights out for the Toronto Blue Jays this season, to the point where many have called him a superstar. (Don’t forget he also set a record for votes in the All-Star ballot). If people were to look at Giovinco the same way they do with Donaldson, they would realize what makes him one of the best players in the MLS.

There has been times where the forward has had to put TFC on his back, especially when Jozy Altidore was out with an injury. Saturday’s performance against NYFC also marked another milestone for Giovinco, as he became the first Toronto FC player to record a hat-trick in MLS play:

If MLS and Toronto FC did a better job of marketing and giving more recognition towards Giovinco’s strong play, they would see more soccer fans watching. I went to an autograph signing that Giovinco did at the TFC academy game and it was a similar crowd to a signing that Tyler Bozak drew, maybe less.

If Toronto sports fans want to find the right star to cheer for, Giovinco is a perfect candidate. Don’t just take my word for it, take the time to watch him play and you will see how dangerous he is on the pitch.

Next: Sebastian Giovinco wins MLS Player of the Week again