US Men’s National Team midfielder Michael Bradley and England striker Jermain Defoe were unveiled as Toronto FC’s newest signings on Monday.
Defoe made his way to Canada after scoring a trademark scrappy goal for Tottenham in their 2-0 win over Crystal Palace on Saturday. Following today’s unveiling the striker will see out the winter at Spurs before returning to Toronto at the end of February to begin his term in Major League Soccer.
Defoe was joined on the podium by Bradley, who put on the A.S. Roma shirt for the final time as an unused substitute in last Thursday’s 1-0 win over Sampdoria in the Italian Cup. One day later he was sold to MLS for $10 million, making him the biggest incoming transfer fee in league history.
“I can tell you I have never been more excited or more motivated for any challenge in my entire career,” said Bradley, who joins Defoe as a Designated Player.
Tim Leiweke, President and CEO of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, put the signing of Bradley into context: “To acquire a star midfielder like Michael Bradley, seen by many as the top American player in the world, alongside a premier striker in Jermain Defoe, makes this a groundbreaking day for Toronto FC and for Major League Soccer. We have worked hard this offseason to deliver a winning team to our fans and I would like to thank AS Roma and MLSE ownership for their commitment and support. This is an exciting day for Toronto FC fans and we can’t wait to start the season.”
Toronto FC general manager Tim Bezbatchenko added to the excitement: “This certainly goes down as a tremendous day in Toronto FC history and goes a long way towards delivering on our promise to our fans of building them a winning club. We had a number of goals heading into this season that included building this club with both a short- and long-term vision for contending for playoffs and championships, while also being recognized and competitive internationally. Adding star players like Jermain and Michael, and partnerships with world-class clubs like Tottenham Hotspur and AS Roma, will help us a great deal in reaching those goals.”