Wednesday, January 14, 2015
Our year of Defoe - Red Bull squabble, 2 goals in Seattle and tea spit commercials
It is hard for me to write that I am thrilled that Jermain Defoe has finally departed. I am wrestling with the idea that he never really arrived.
Jermaine Defoe is undergoing his medical with Sunderland as I write this. It was noted by a few folks that Jan.13/2014 was the day of the intro Defoe (and Michael Bradley) TFC press conference and Jan.13/2015 was the day of his sale to Sunderland. So our TFC year of Defoe could be measured as stretching from one winter to the next. Somehow I think this is a measure of how long he was a name on Toronto's roster, not a measure of how long he belonged in Toronto. Not that he ever reduced his effort on the field, but what connections did he build? Who kicks a ball on our soil who credits Defoe for making those around him better?
The mess of TFC has been created by many "leaders" making the same mistake - go for the big move before your series of small moves have paid off. These small moves would involve trades, drafts and most importantly homegrown talent. TFC has put time and effort into their academy, but where are the results?
I have taken the time to write down the Canadians and the TFC draft picks that are presently on the roster down at the bottom of this post. Out of that list do you see any breakout players who are going to contribute to TFC in 2015? Far more likely you are looking at the players of the USL Pro team that TFC are fielding in 2015.
We are very aware of the low FIFA ranking of Canada, but could you imagine how much lower that could go if we magically create an Ontario team? Yet, the mythical Ontario U20 team is our homegrown talent base.
I am not saying stop pursuing the international talent. Michael Bradley is TFC's foundation and should a happy Jozy Altidore match the Defoe goal total of 11 (and not be TFC's top scorer) TFC could do well in 2015. I understand that 8000 new seats need to be sold and that names sell tickets.
But more important than big name signings is TFC learning a lesson from our year of Defoe. TFC standings success in 2015 is only the surface of the story. TFC needs builders and teachers and coaches. It is hoped that recent coach signings of Stuart Neeley and Robin Fraser are positive steps. As is an ongoing search for a TFC President.
Any player signing for Toronto has to make contributions both on and off the field. They have to understand that they are not just putting on a shirt, but adopting a province. They have to inspire something bigger than tea spit commercials.
Canadian talent- Jordan Hamilton, Kyle Bekker, Jonathan Osorio, Ashtone Morgan, Quillan Roberts, Manuel Aparicio, Chris Mantella and we hope to be adding Jay Chapman.
MLS Draft picks - Nick Hagglund, Daniel Lovitz and Bekker from the above list. In days the MLS Superdraft takes place. TFC has 5 picks in the first two rounds.