TFC Signs Three
Aron Winter kind of let the rabbit out of the bag today. Before a press release could be drafted and released Coach Winter, in response to a question posed by a reporter about a piece in a Dutch newspaper Tuesday let it slip that the Reds have signed three of the trialists that were with the club on its recent training Camp in Turkey. Interestingly on the Official TFC website they are being somewhat coy about the status of these and other new players.
Here is the video, courtesy of TFC-TV. Check out the discussion Coach Winter has with a reporter starting at the 1:50 mark:
Reports in the Dutch media today confirmed that Javier Martina, Elbekay Bouchiba and Nick Soolsma have all been signed. In the video Winter states “…the performance of them was pretty good and that is why we signed them …also because I am convinced that they can make a difference in this season…”
TFC is not giving anything away on their website as of yet but with what Winter is saying it is I would guess only a matter of finalizing the contractual details and getting league approval. If indeed these three have been signed that gives Toronto 18 players under contract. Four Academy players also took the trip to Turkey and it may be possible that at least one or maybe two of them might be given promotions to the senior team in the coming weeks. That leaves roughly ten spots to fill.
Another interesting and encouraging statement came From Coach Winter in the same interview session when he said that he plans to have his full team in place two full weeks before the first competitive MLS match in Vancouver on March 19th. That gives TFC just a little over two and a half weeks to meet Winter’s self imposed deadline to fill out the rest of the roster. Whether he can meet this deadline or not remains to be seen. What I like about him saying this is that he apparently gets the scale of how huge an error it was in the Mo Johnston era for Toronto FC to not ever have a full roster in place and have a chance to become reasonably familiar with one another before the real games start to matter.
Toronto has a chance, as I wrote last week in this space about the 2011 schedule, to really get a leg up on the competition in the Eastern Conference with a strong start. The schedule presented to Toronto looks quite promising early on. Not having the full team in place well before these matches in my humble opinion would be a grievous error.
Expect to hear about more players being signed in the coming days before the team heads to Florida to continue training camp.