The 2024 Toronto FC MLS Draft night has been concluded. There were four players selected by TFC, including a Trinidadian soccer player named Tyrese Spicer. This is the first time TFC drafted first overall since 2007, when they drafted Maurice Edu.
The 2024 Toronto FC MLS Draft: Tyrese Spicer the Highlight
Tyrese Spicer – Forward (Drafted First Overall From Lipscomb University)
Shoutout JT @MapleLeafs
Welcome to the Reds, Tyrese pic.twitter.com/KxJaoBogqu
— Toronto FC (@TorontoFC) December 19, 2023
Spicer was a goal-prodigy in college. The 6’1’ forward, born in Trincity, Trinidad and Tobago had 29 goals and dished out 18 assists as he played four seasons with Lipscomb. This includes scoring 14 goals and dishing out three assists this year. He also has a lot of accolades including in his sophomore year, where he was named to the ASUN Conference All-Conference First Team, the United Soccer Coaches All Region Second Team, the ASUN Championship Co-MVP, the ASUN All-Tournament Team, and on September 7, was named the ASUN Player of the Week, as he had six points against Evansville back on September 6, 2021.
Also, in his junior season in 2022, he was named to the 2022 ASUN Second Team All-Conference and the 2022 ASUN All-Tournament Team. He had some fantastic games while with Lipscomb, including scoring two goals, in a tight 3-2 win over Kentucky on the road on September 8, 2023.
This is how Spicer described his game after being drafted by Toronto FC, and also his confidence of playing at the MLS level (source: Canadian Press):
“I would like to come into the first team,” he said from the family home in Trincity, Trinidad. “I think I’m good enough to have an impact on it. I know the transition from NCAA level to MLS level is going to be a jump. And I’m going to have to take a few weeks to adjust to the transition and the fast pace and the high IQ of these players, Spicer said. “But I trust myself. I’m confident always in myself. I can feed off of these pros and they can guide me and take me under their wing.”
Spicer is also a very confident individual, as he said this to Matthew Scianitti (source: TSN):
That is some bold words by Spicer, who definitely has a lot of confidence in him to succeed in the club and international level.
Tyrese Spicer Will Likely Get Playing Time With Toronto FC
— The AJC (@The_AJC_) December 19, 2023
Looking at the players TFC has at the forward position, it is possible. There are well-known players like Federico Bernadeschi and Lorenzo Insigne. There is also the up and coming, Deandre Kerr, who along with Bernardeschi, led the team with five goals scored this year.
However, with rumours of Bernardeschi moving this year, things might change quickly. Additionally, players like Insigne and Kerr had some injury issues this year, which might give Spicer some playing time despite only being a rookie in the league next year. Another factor in Spicer’s favour is TFC’s lack of goal-scoring. In 2023, TFC had 26 goals, which was the lowest total in the Eastern Conference and tied for the worst in the league with the Colorado Rapids.
Joey Maher – Defender (Drafted 30th Overall From Indiana University)
Joey Maher is a 6’2’ player, who has had six goals and one assist in his college career. This included scoring two goals for Indiana this previous season. His accomplishments included being a Top Drawer Soccer Freshman Best XI second team, 2020 NCAA All-Tournament team, All-Big Ten Freshman Team, Top Drawer Soccer Postseason Top 100 Freshmen (No. 21), and the Top Drawer Soccer Team of the Week (March 30) in his Freshman year. Then he won both the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award and the Academic All-Big Ten honours in his sophomore year. He then made the Academic All-Big Ten in his Junior year.
In his last season with Indiana, he was named captain of the team. There he won a lot of honours like the Top Drawer Soccer Postseason Top 100 (No. 77), First-team All-North Region, First-team All-Big Ten, adidas MLS College Showcase Participant, College Sports Communicators Academic All-District, Academic All-Big Ten, Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week (Oct. 17), College Soccer News Team of the Week (Nov. 6), and the Two-time Top Drawer Soccer Team of the Week Honorable Mention (Nov. 14, Nov. 28). For a defender to get so many honours is something TFC fans should look at as a positive.
Lastly, he was involved in ten clean sheets in his freshmen year, 13 in 2021, eight in 2022, and nine clean sheets in 2023. Put them all together and he was involved in 40 clean sheets for his college team, which is impressive.
Where Joey Maher Fits With the Team?
To be honest, despite being drafted 30th overall, TFC might give him some chances to play in the centre-back role. The reason is that TFC gave up the most goals of any team in MLS this past season with 59 goals given up.
The centre-backs they currently have is Sigurd Rosted, Shane O’Neill, and Aimé Mabika. It is important to note though that the level from college to MLS is a big one. If successful, he may get playing time in the latter part of the season, if TFC head coach, John Herdman, sees something in Maher.
This is what was said by the Indiana University head coach about Maher, who also has a brother in MLS named Jack in the Eastern Conference (source: Joe Cronin of The Hoosier Network)
“He always shows up and we always know we can trust Joey,” Indiana head coach Todd Yeagley said after Indiana defeated Lipscomb in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
Other Players Drafted
TFC also drafted two midfielders in the third round. This included Patrick McDonald, drafted 59th overall from Indiana University and Fletcher Bank, drafted 85th overall, from Stanford. Both players will look to earn contracts with Toronto heading into the off-season.
As a Freshman (2021), McDonald got the Top Drawer Soccer Midseason Top 100 Freshmen (No. 46), then in his junior year (2023) he won the Big Ten Tournament Champion, Big Ten regular season champion, First-team All-Big Ten, and the Top Drawer Soccer Team of the Week Honorable Mention (Nov. 21). Then, in 2022, he made the NCAA College Team honours.
Lastly, there is Bank, another midfielder. He played 14 games and started in 12 of them. He scored two goals and two assists as a freshman in 2022. In two seasons with Stanford, he has a total of four goals and 13 assists. This includes scoring two goals and dishing out eight assists this year. This includes scoring a goal and an assist against Santa Clara.
The competition for both McDonald and Bank, who will be both be competing with each other for spots, will have to compete with TFC midfielders like Jonathan Osorio, Latif Blessing, Alonso Coello, Brandon Servania, Kosi Thompson, and Kobe Franklin.
Unfortunately, for Bank, it will be extremely tough to break into TFC’s roster, with maybe Toronto FC II being a better bet. As for McDonald, he in fact does have a better chance of making the team, but he will be up against it, even with Michael Bradley retiring at the conclusion of the 2023 MLS Season.
Toronto FC MLS Draft Grades
2024 MLS #SuperDraft Round-Up
— Toronto FC (@TorontoFC) December 20, 2023
This was a very good draft for Toronto. The team representing the financial centre and most populous city in Canada had an abysmal season this year. However, they have already signed Spicer and there is also a chance for Maher to possibly make a difference to the team. They also utilized the draft to the full potential, something they did not do last year.
Photo Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports, of a BMO Field Headshot, on September 30, 2023.
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