It was announced today that Toronto FC have signed Efrain Burgos Jr. Contract details like length and money were so not disclosed, the club didn't even bother to say they weren't disclosed this time. A 3rd round SuperDraft pick though, I imagine that's going to be your standard MLS entry level terms, so not one of the salaries that counts towards the salary cap. Once again though we'll have to wait until the union releases the salaries before we know anything for sure.
Burgos was drafted by Toronto FC in the 3rd round of the 2011 MLS SuperDraft but due to issues relating to getting him his green card and work permit he was unable to join the club last season. That led to most fans of the club forgetting his name until he surfaced seemingly out of nowhere at camp this winter. The issues with his green card are behind him now and he is ready to begin his MLS career.
Prior to being drafted by Toronto FC Burgos played at the NCAA level. He spent his first two years of college at San Jose State University before he transferred to California Polytechnic State University. He had a fair bit of success at both schools but it was his strong senior year at Cal Poly that saw him drafted by Toronto FC in the third round of the SuperDraft.
It is interesting to note that Burgos' alma mater, Cal Poly, is a fierce rival of the University of California Santa Barbara. That means that they should be a bit of a fun rivalry between Burgos and TFC's two former Gauchos, Eric Avila and Luis Silva.
Burgos comes from good footballing stock as his father, Efrain Burgos, was a professional player in El Salvador and even received 5 caps for their national team back in the 1980's. His father now works in the coaching ranks of the US developmental leagues.
Burgos Jr. is set to follow in his father's foot steps and seems to be close to receiving his first cap for the El Salvador senior mens national team. At only 23 years of age he has been called into camp with them three times already but has yet to be handed any playing time. He will certainly hoping to get the chance to play some role in the nations games this summer as El Salvador will take part in the third round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying.
Like his father Junior Burgos is primarily a wide midfielder. For Toronto it is likely that he will be used in more of an advanced role serving as a backup option to the likes of Joao Plata, Ryan Johnson, Nick Soolsma, and Reggie Lambe. That might be a bit of an adjustment for the 23 year old though as he is not really a natural midfielder. The other option would be to try and move him inside and see what he can do as more of a creative midfielder. Having been listed as 5'11" and 165 pounds in college, he seems to have bulked up a bit since then, that more central role could very much be a viable option.
In preseason Burgos showed a bit of flexibility in where he can play which will have appealed to Aron Winter who seems to be quickly learning that with the MLS roster rules you need to have bench players who can play in a number of different positions. It is also good for Burgos as the more different roles he can fill the better the chances he will see the field. He was one of Toronto's better players when they lost 1-0 to the Whitecaps in the final of the Disney Pro Soccer Classic
It is interesting to note that last winter before all the visa issues became clear Burgos stated in a Spanish language interview that he had already signed a 3 year deal with the club with the third year being a club held option year. At the time of that article he had been training with Toronto for a couple of months and it came out just after that 4-2 defeat to open the season against the Vancouver Whitecaps.
At that time Burgos seemed hopeful that his permit issue would be resolved and he would be able to play for the team in 2011. Looking back we now know that was not how things worked out but now he is finally able to join the club on a permanent basis.
It is possible that he did sign a contract last offseason with the full intention of playing in 2011 but when he could not get all the legal issues worked out that contract would likely have become void. The contract that he reportedly signed last year seemed like a fairly standard entry level MLS deal and there is no reason to suspect that this deal would be any different.
With Burgos likely to serve as a depth player this season TFC will certainly not be paying him enough to have any impact on their remaining cap space and chances are he will be at or around league minimum which is the case for most third round draft picks.
In other news MLSsoccer.com confirmed earlier this week that Moises Orozco did not receive a contract offer from Toronto FC and has returned to playing in Mexico. They did add that the player does remain hopeful of one day making the move to MLS whether it be with Toronto or another club remains to be seen.