Last week we found out that 9 academy players would be joining the first team and this years draft picks in training camp. The names of the 9 young players, along with everyone else attending camp, were unveiled today as the club posted a list of all 41 players who will take part in the first stage of the preseason.
For many of the players invited into camp, the journey to make the team will come to an end ever before the club heads down to Florida on February 13th to take part in the Walt Disney World Pro Soccer Classic. By the time the season starts Toronto will have to trim their roster down to 30 players so that means that some of the academy guys and some of the draftees will almost certainly not make the cut.
Based on what the club was saying last week there is maybe 2 or 3 of the academy guys who will have a shot to travel with the team down to Florida for the games against Orlando City, BK Hacken, and FC Dallas. There is even a sense that the team could add 1 or 2 more home grown players to the roster for next season.
The most likely academy player to make the first team out of camp this year is Stefan Vukovic. The academy player led the CSL first division in scoring for 2011 with an impressive haul of 18 goals. This was the first time that a teenager was able to win that award and the first time that a Toronto FC academy player has finished a season as the leagues top scorer. He added to his 18 goals in the CSL with a pair in the MLS reserve league which actually had him tied for the lead on Toronto FC reserves.
For most people Vukovic seems the obvious choice to promote to the senior team this year as the club is lacking in depth up front. The move also makes more sense with Toronto looking to make changes that would give reserve players more chances to play beyond the very limited MLS reserve league. Add to that the fact that everyone that I have talked to who saw him on a regular basis in the CSL feels that he no longer has anything to learn from being in that league and his promotion just makes sense.In the end Toronto has invited 26 players who are already under contract and expected to be with the club but that included injured players like Nicholas Lindsay and Dicoy Williams. So even if the club does go on to add Miguel Aceval to the roster at some point there remains room for others to break on to the roster. The question now is besides Vukovic, who is in position to lock down a spot on Toronto's roster for next season. Could someone from the Supplemental Draft turn heads and prove to be a steal? Or could we instead see a couple more home grown players make the team?
Either way, with 41 players in camp to start with some players are going to miss out on their dream of making it at the professional level, at least for this year.
DF – Mykell Bates (S), Nick Blake (S), Geovanny Caicedo, Adrian Cann, Richard Eckersley, Jeremy Hall, Ty Harden, Doneil Henry, Brandon John (A), Aaron Maund (SD), Ashtone Morgan, Tyler Pasher (A), Dicoy Williams
MF – Eric Avila, Elbekay Bouchiba, Efrain Burgos, Jr. (S), Sergio Camargo (A), Jay Chapman (A), Oscar Cordon, Julian de Guzman, Terry Dunfield, Torsten Frings, Michael Green (S), Arthur Ivo (S), Reggie Lambe, Nicholas Lindsay, Mike Mazzullo (S), Luis Silva (SD), Matt Stinson
A – Academy
SD – SuperDraft pick
S – Supplemental Draft pick