– Toronto FC Transfers, Trades, Signings & Rumors

Reds sign Gambian defenders
March 3, 2009, 1:57 PM
Filed under: Amadou Sanyang, Emmanuel Gomez, Signing, Toronto FC

Toronto FC announced Tuesday that they have signed defenders Emmanuel Gomez and Amadou Sanyang to MLS contracts. Gomez was acquired from Samger Football Club of the Gambian National 1st Division, while Sanyang arrives from Real de Banjul Football Club in Gambia. As per league and team policy, financial details were not announced.

“Both these players are great young talents and have a huge future ahead of them,” said manager, director of soccer Mo Johnston. “Gomez is very good in the air, has very good speed and is an outstanding young centre back. Amadou has great ability as well; he’s very talented and will be a great asset for many years to come. We are delighted to have them both on board.”

Gomez, 18, has been a fixture in both his club side and a regular member of the Gambian U-20 National Team. He was a member of the squad that competed in qualification for the 2009 African Championship, and has most recently been selected to train with the Senior team.

Sanyang, 17, was a member of the Gambian U-17 squad, and is currently part of the U-20 squad. In 2007, he was honoured as the Best Midfielder in the National League and was part of the winning team that captured the Four Nation Tournament held in Ivory Coast that year. In that tournament he was named MVP runner-up.

Due to his age, Sanyang will not be able to become a full member of the Toronto FC Senior squad until his 18th birthday. Until that time the defender will train with both the senior team and TFC Academy and be able to play matches for the Academy. Sanyang turns 18 August 1, the same day that Toronto FC faces the New England Revolution at Gillette Stadium and if selected, could make his debut with the first team on that date.

Both players will arrive in Toronto following the completion of all international transfer and immigration procedures.

Emmanuel Gomez
Position: Defender
Height: 6-3
Weight: 171
Birthdate: December 20, 1990
Nationality: Gambian
Roster Status: International

Amadou Sanyang
Position: Defender
Height: 6-0
Weight: 165
Birthdate: August 1, 1991
Nationality: Gambian
Roster Status: International

Source: Click Here

TFC to sign Richardson
February 18, 2009, 8:13 AM
Filed under: Gregory Richardson, MLS Preseason, Signing, Toronto FC

Guyana national striker Gregory ‘Jackie Chan’ Richardson is set to become the first Guyanese to play in the US Major League Soccer (MLS) as he wrapped up his one week training session with the team in Miami, Florida.

Speaking to Stabroek Sport from New York where he was meeting former Guyanese broadcaster and journalist Gary Tim, along with Garth Nelson who was instrumental in his overseas accomplishments, Richardson said, “Soon I will make my country proud.” He said it’s just a matter of time before he is signed to Toronto FC and after one week training with the team in Florida he is looking forward to returning with them next week.

“Playing here is great so far. I’m a football player so I know how to adjust and what I have to do when so ever I go out on the field. I was asked to stay one more week, but things will be made legit in a few weeks, so I will be making my people proud soon,” the striker said. “First I had a slight problem adjusting to the different climate but then it was good for me, but words can’t really express how I feel and I will continue to work hard to make my dream a reality,” Richardson said.

Eight players tried out with the club for one week and Richardson and an African player were asked to stay on for another week. The team returned to Canada but Richardson remained in Miami since he does not hold a Canadian visa. However, he is expected to rejoin the club when they return to Miami for their pre-season training.

Meanwhile, Nelson said Richardson’s tenure with the club is practically a done deal. He said they asked him to stay on after sending home players who had played at some of the highest levels in world football. “They know what Gregory has to offer and according to the coach he has blend in really well with the system they have at the club. So I see him being signed in a matter of two weeks or so and I know how much it will mean for him knowing how much he has given to football,” he said. Further, Nelson said senior players on the team have also been advocating for Richardson as they enjoy playing with him. Among those is Canadian international player Dwayne De Rosario who is of Guyanese parentage.

Richardson said that De Rosario who is a popular figure in Canadian football, had been very supportive during his stint. “I know I will make it so right now I’m happy to be here and even happier to stay,” Richardson said. He has been featured in all the club’s four games played during the one week camp but did not score although he had had several opportunities to do so.

Twenty-six-year-old Richardson came to prominence last year during the CONCACAF club Champ-ionship with his Trinidad and Tobago Pro-League club Joe Public when he devastated MLS top club New England Revolution scoring four goals in his club win. He also single-handedly ripped apart several other top clubs in the tournament. Several international news agencies linked the striker with moves to New England Revolution and other top MLS clubs including Columbus Crew and San Jose Earthquake.

A buoyant Richardson had also told reporters after he had just helped Pele win the million-dollar first prize in the Kashif and Shanghai Tournament, that he had nothing more to accomplish on the local scene. He had said too he planned to move further afield.

Toronto FC will open their 2009 MLS season on March 21 against the Kansas City Wizards. Richardson hopes to don the club’s colours on that day.

Source: Click Here

TFC Signs Pablo Vitti
February 9, 2009, 3:54 PM
Filed under: Pablo Vitti, Signing, South America, Toronto FC

Toronto FC announced Monday the signing of Argentine forward Pablo Vitti to a loan deal. As per team policy details were not released.

Vitti, 23, joins from FC Chernomorets Odessa of the Ukrainian Premier League where he was on loan from Independiente of Argentina.

“We’ve kept tabs on him since he played here in the summer,” said manager, director of soccer Mo Johnston. “We actually made him an offer after that game, but it was refused at that time. MLS can be a difficult league for players to adjust to straight away so we are pleased that we could secure this loan deal now to allow Pablo time to adjust and settle in through a proper pre-season.”

Toronto FC fans may remember Vitti from last summer when Independiente paid a visit to BMO Field on July 15. Vitti scored the lone goal in the game in the 68th minute to give the visitors a 1-0 victory. His best season was in 2004/05 when he played for his hometown club Rosario Central when he scored eight goals in 29 appearances.

Vitti was part of the Argentina U-20 squad that competed at the 2005 FIFA World Youth Championship in the Netherlands where Argentina defeated Nigeria for the title.

Vitti will join up with Toronto FC in Bradenton Florida on Tuesday, February 10 and will be officially added to the roster upon the receipt of his International Transfer Certificate.

Source: Click Here

Ricketts signs on for ’09
February 2, 2009, 10:42 PM
Filed under: Rohan Ricketts, Signing, Toronto FC

Toronto FC announced Monday that midfielder Rohan Ricketts has agreed to a new deal that will keep him with the club through the 2009 season. Earlier in 2009, the club extended the contracts of both midfielder Carl Robinson, and forward Danny Dichio. As per team and league policy details of the deal were not announced.

Ricketts, 26, joined Toronto FC on April 4, 2008. The midfielder scored four goals, and added four assists in 27 games played. He finished the 2008 MLS season third in the team on minutes played.

Robinson, 32, will begin his third season with the club after becoming an inaugural member of Toronto FC signing February 1, 2007. The midfielder split time between the Wales National team and Toronto FC, and still started 27 games for the club. He finished the 2008 season with a goal and an assist and was second in the team in minutes played. Robinson was also awarded the team’s MVP award – for the second straight season.

Dichio, 34, is also an original member of Toronto FC joining the team on April 19, 2007. The forward quickly became a fan favourite after scoring the team’s first ever goal in 2007, and the last goal of that same season. In 23 appearances in 2008, Dichio finished with five goals and three assists and narrowly missed out on obtaining the team’s Golden Boot award for most goals.

TFC pick Grella to sign with Leeds
January 30, 2009, 11:05 PM
Filed under: MLS Superdraft, Signing, Toronto FC

Following a successful two-week trial, former Duke University standout Mike Grella has been offered a contract to play with English League One side Leeds United, sources told SBI on Friday.

Grella, who turned 22 last week, scored a hat-trick for the Leeds reserves in a 4-0 win against Barnsley at Elland Road and immediately opened the eyes of manager Simon Grayson. The native of Glen Cove, L.I., who holds an Italian passport, is still in contract negotiations with the club, but a deal is expected to be finalized soon, according to sources.

Grella, a first-team NSCAA All-American this year, bypassed the MLS Combine, but was still selected by Toronto FC with the 34th overall pick in the MLS SuperDraft two weeks ago despite letting it be known that he would pursue a contract in Europe.

Source: Click Here

January 7, 2009, 5:39 PM
Filed under: Former TFC Players, Signing, Toronto FC

The Impact announced Wednesday the signing of Serbian native Canadian goalkeeper Srdjan Djekanovic for the next two seasons, pending the league’s approval.

Djekanovic, who will turn 26 Thursday, played for the Vancouver Whitecaps during three seasons, ending the last campaign with a 3-2-2 record, four shutouts and a 0,571 Goal Allowed Average (GAA). He also played in the Major League Soccer (MLS) in 2007, playing eight games with the Toronto FC. Djekanovic also played two games with the U20 Canadian National Team in July 2003, during the US Soccer Festival, in Houston.

Source: Click Here

DeRosario holding out for dp money?
December 19, 2008, 11:37 PM
Filed under: Designated Player, Mo Johnston, Rumor, Signing, Toronto FC

… Looks like he has finally broken his silence.

Sort of.
A week after Toronto FC announced they had traded for the top Canadian player in Major League Soccer, we’ve heard very little from the team, and even less from De Rosario himself, about when he might arrive for a formal re-introduction to local media and fans.
As far as the media are concerned De Rosario is incommunicado these days. He’s not answering his phones (believe me, I’ve dialed every one) or his email (I tried that first). He did, however, post a blurb on his personal web site earlier this week, thanking Dynamo fans for supporting him during his three years in Houston.
But a message for TFC fans?
None on his site yet, and nothing relayed through the team or local media.
Now, the team might complain later that I’m missing the point, and that De Rosario has indeed spoken out on the team’s web site. But when you watch the video, note the Dynamo-orange trim on his T-shirt. This is archived footage, probably shot sometime around the All-Star game.
Monday morning the folks at TFC told me they would schedule a De Rosario news conference sometime this week — sooner rather than later. As the week wore on, sooner bled into later and I learned the team had pushed the news conference back to sometime in January, though nobody was quite sure when.
I’m not saying the team or the player are trying to hide anything, but lack of information on the biggest deal  the team has ever completed sure seems strange.
In lieu of a formal news conference I started making calls to different folks, trying to pull together a happy-homecoming -for-the-holidays type feature looking at De Rosario, his family and the impact his return to Toronto will have on the local and national soccer scenes.
Certain folks were willing to talk, like the Toronto Lynx and TFC officials like Paul Beirne and Tom Anselmi, who eagerly answered all my questions.
But from people closer to the action I’ve heard little but silence.
Silence from both De Rosario and his agent, and silence from De Rosario’s father, Tony, who said he’d love to interview but couldn’t until his son gave the green light. But that wouldn’t happen, he said, until his son, who was still in Houston, cleared some up some things. Beyond that he couldn’t elaborate.
Fair enough. Tony’s clearly close to his son, but it’s not his job to deal with this stuff.
But the lack of clear communication from those directly involved is baffling.
And here’s the thing about silence: it breeds speculation.
Right now, according to the Houston Chronicle, the speculation is that De Rosario wants a raise.

If you didn’t read the whole story I’ll point you to the important part.

The Dynamo tried to keep De Rosario happy in Houston, signing him to a long-term deal midway through the 2007 season that made him the team’s best-paid player at $325,000 (the league maximum at the time). Apparently, that wasn’t enough.

De Rosario, 30, asked to be traded to Toronto because that is home and because he is looking for a new long-term deal that includes a significant bump in compensation, although word from Toronto is that his new team might not be willing or able to comply.

Is that scenario plausible?
De Rosario is the the best and most marketable player TFC has ever acquired, so it’s reasonable to think he’d want a salary that reflects that status.
He has also been critical of BMO Field’s synthetic turf in the past. Couple that with his age — he’ll be 31 in May — and it’s not hard to imagine him wanting a bonus in exchange for the daily pounding that is training on BMO’s turf.
But does that mean this is what’s actually happening?
Not at all.
Even a plausible scenario can be wrong, and I wanted the truth. So I called TFC general manager Mo Johnston, hoping he could clarify things for me. After all, he seemed cheerful enough when he told Sportsnet’s Gerry Dobson that the delay in delivering De Rosario simply gave the team time to make a “big splash” in the new year.
But Johnston didn’t tell me about any “big splashes.” Instead he returned my call in a confrontational mood, asking why I’d called him.
Because I’m working on a story. That’s the only reason I ever call him.
He wasn’t happy that I had already called Beirne and Anselmi, and took my call to him as proof that I was trying to invent a De Rosario story where none existed.
Um… ok.
If I really were trying to concoct a story without facts I would avoid all the people directly involved (i.e. De Rosario, Beirne, Anselmi, Johnston), then field (justified) complaints from TFC that I’d written a big story without bothering to call the key players in it.
Instead, I go straight to the source and Johnston is still suspicious.
Go figure.
Anyway, Johnston assured me that the De Rosario deal was complete and that the two-time MLS Cup MVP was still in Houston but would arrive here eventually.
But when I asked him to address the speculation about De Rosario wanting more money, he didn’t dismiss the rumours as much as he dismissed me, telling me sarcastically to “trust your instincts.”


We’ve got a team and their star player both incommunicado for a week after the biggest transaction in either party’s history. Introductory news conference tentatively scheduled for this week is suddenly pushed back to some nebulous date in the new year. Rumours percolate that the star player wants a raise.
In a situation like this my instincts tell me to approach the people directly involved and get them to confirm or deny speculation. I’m in the truth business, so my instincts tell me to seek clarity and convey that clear message to readers.
And right now, in the absence of any clear answers from Johnston or De Rosario, my instincts tell me to keep questioning.
Johnston’s comments about a “big splash” in January convinced Sportsnet’s Dobson that “something is up” with Toronto FC.
After talking to Johnston and listening to a week of silence from De Rosario’s camp, I’ve reached the same conclusion.
Something is up.
But I still don’t even pretend to know what.

Source: Click Here

TFC scores big with De Rosario
December 15, 2008, 8:45 AM
Filed under: Canada, Signing, Toronto FC, Trade

So how does a blockbuster trade such as the one that sent three-time MLS Cup MVP Dwayne De Rosario to Toronto FC for rookie defender Julius James and an allocation get made? It happens only when you have two teams desperate to make a deal and a special player with an unyielding desire to return home.

In one corner was a young franchise in Toronto FC that needed an iconic figure, a franchise player who could capture the imagination of its fan base while making an impact on the field. In the other corner was a once-dominant Houston club that suddenly needed to revamp its roster after seeing its reign as league champion ended.

Then, there was De Rosario, the hometown hero who was desperate to return home and be a part of the blossoming soccer hotbed Toronto has become.

De Rosario made it no secret that he wanted to go back to Canada, and playing for Toronto FC always seemed inevitable for the native of the Toronto suburb of Scarborough. That De Rosario gave his all in the dying minutes of the summer’s MLS All-Star Game in Toronto, a game De Rosario played despite only one day’s rest yet still managed to deliver the winning penalty kick, said it all. As the fans at BMO Field chanted his name, it was clear on that night in July that De Rosario would return north sooner rather than later.

But the Houston Dynamo still had to want to make a trade. On Friday, the deal happened because the Dynamo came to the realization that they had to revamp a roster that was showing vulnerabilities that didn’t exist when the team was winning MLS Cup titles in 2006 and 2007. The departure of Nate Jaqua, potential departure of Brian Ching and likely departure of stalwart defender Bobby Boswell forced the Dynamo to consider how to revamp their roster without tearing it apart.

As much as all parties involved needed the trade to happen, Toronto FC still came away the clear winner. TFC director of soccer Mo Johnston has caught his share of flak for the team’s lack of success in the past two seasons, but there is no denying that he has set Toronto up for a big 2009. Add De Rosario to three first-round draft picks in what is considered a strong upcoming draft in January, $800,000 in allocation money as well as a designated player slot the team is expected to use, and you realize that Toronto had the resources to pay more for De Rosario but didn’t.

Johnston managed to land one of the league’s best midfielders and a renowned clutch player, and he did so without giving up a key starter or any of the team’s three first-round draft picks. Throw in that Houston accepted what sources say was an allocation less than $200,000, and you get the sneaking suspicion that Toronto FC played hardball and Houston relented.

Toronto’s reward is a player who will boost a Toronto attack that struggled at times. Whether TFC groups De Rosario with Amado Guevara and Carl Robinson in a 4-5-1 formation or plays De Rosario as a withdrawn forward in a 4-4-1-1, the prospect of having the creative tandem of De Rosario and Guevara working together is a scary proposition. Especially if you consider that Toronto is expected to use its designated player slot on a forward.

Something that should be noted, and something Houston will quietly remind people, is that De Rosario is coming off a subpar season. He managed just seven goals and two assists in 24 MLS matches. He clearly felt the fatigue of Houston’s packed schedule. But there is a belief that playing back home in Canada will re-energize the 30-year-old playmaker and return him to his all-star level.

The lingering question that stands out when looking at this trade is, why did Houston deal De Rosario for seemingly so little? The reality is that there wasn’t a huge market for De Rosario because of his salary, his desire for a new contract and the leaguewide knowledge that he wanted to play only for Toronto. With only one team to deal him to, Houston was left with poor bargaining position, and it showed in what most experts will call a lopsided deal.

Although that may be so, a closer look at the deal reveals that it could help Houston on a variety of fronts. In swapping De Rosario for James and between $150,000 and $175,000 in allocation money, the Dynamo gain a potential net of up to $350,000 of salary-cap space. Houston is expected to use that cap space to use its designated player, with a marquee forward at the top of the team’s list of needs.

James also is very high on the lists of several MLS clubs that considered him the best defender in the 2008 MLS draft. Although James did struggle at times as a rookie for Toronto, he still boasts the athleticism and toughness that many scouts believe could help him turn into an elite defender.

Houston likely will need James to replace Boswell, who is a free agent and is expected to move to Europe. Although James lacks experience, he boasts the type of speed the Houston back line needs, as anyone who watched Dane Richards torch the Dynamo in the playoffs can attest.

So how will the Dynamo replace De Rosario? Houston already has his replacement in U.S. Olympic team midfielder Stuart Holden, one of the league’s best young players. Holden would have started for most teams in MLS but came off the bench for the deep Houston team this season.

In the end, Houston won’t regret this deal if Holden flourishes, if its DP signing isn’t a flop and if James is a standout defender. But if more than one of these doesn’t break right for the Dynamo, critics will look back on this trade as the real beginning of the end for the Dynamo.

As for TFC, the club landed the player it has long coveted and is one step closer to completing a rebuilding project that will see it go from missing the playoffs to winning a title. For Johnston & Co., 2009 is a make-or-break season, and Friday’s trade is a major step toward Toronto’s establishing itself as a legitimate force next season.

Source: Click Here