If Toronto FC players were not already aware that they will be playing for their jobs in the coming weeks they should be now as the club brings in another batch of trialists. With last weeks signings the roster is now where it needs to be to meet with MLS rules so there is no longer a need to sign more players but the club continues to look at its options and decide who should be part of the long term plans.
That means that anyone who is not on a guaranteed contract should also feel that they are on trial as roster spots, specifically international ones, are starting to be at more of a premium and each new trialist brought in will be fighting to take away a job from someone who is already on the roster.
The latest group confirmed by the club as being on trial is made up of Canadian international Jamie Peters, D.C. United cast off Lance Rozeboom, and Ryan Richter of the Charleston Battery. There are no real big names among the bunch but with Toronto FC in need of help in both the starting lineup and in depth there is certainly no harm in taking an extended look at as many players as possible.
They are joined in camp by a group of trialists that are still around from last weeks training. That group is made up of Jacob Hustedt, Jonathan Beaulieu-Bourgault, and John Bostock (who they said was training with club not on trial). The club also confirmed that Justin Davis is no longer with the club on trial.
That makes for a fairly large group of trialists at training on Tuesday morning but all players that could potentially fill needs for the club. The issue is that with six trialists at training along with 27 players on the roster (including injured Danny Koevermans) the club is running out of roster spots to work with. MLS rules only allow for 30 players on a club's active roster so the club is only in position to add a couple more players before they have to start waiving ones that are currently on the roster to make room for new additions.
What do we know about the players currently on trial though? Well, Jamie Peters was most recently on trial with the Vancouver Whitecaps where he was reported to be overweight and despite showing some skill was eventually released. Prior to that he was under contract with Ipswich town where he signed as a teenager in 2005 but after some early success failed to remain a regular in the starting lineup. He would go out on loan Yeovil Town, Gillingham, and Bournemouth during his time at Ipswich before eventually being released from his contract by mutual consent.
The right back has 26 caps for the Canadian National team and not that many years ago was considering to be one of the nation's top prospects. He is now 25 years old and has failed to really live up to that billing as a potential star for Canada for a number of different reasons. If he can get in shape he would certainly provide Toronto with a decent option down the right even if it were to be as a backup to Richard Eckersley. The positive about Peters is that as a Canadian he would not require an international roster slot and might even be a more affordable option than Ecks in the long run.
Lance Rozeboom is a midfielder that was recently released by DC United. He was selected by the club in the 2012 Supplemental Draft out of the University of New Mexico but did not make a single first team appearance in 2012 thanks in part to suffering a torn ACL in March that sidelined him for the entire season. Prior to the injury there was some talk that he might prove to be a steal for DCU at that stage in the draft but with him now being cut it appears that will never be the case.
He can be used as a box-to-box midfielder with the ability to be used in more of a defensive role. In the preseason games that he was involved in this year he was in that deeper role in the midfield and seemed to do well. His release from DCU seems to have come down to a numbers game as the club seems to be confident that Perry Kitchen, Marcelo Saragosa,John Thorrington, and Lewis Neal can get the job done in the middle of the park.
Then there is Ryan Richter who joins TFC on trial from the Charleston Battery. He is a 23 year old American attacker who can play as both a striker or on the wings. He was previously with the Philadelphia Union who drafted him in the 1st round of the 2011 Supplemental Draft and signed him after a strong preseason. He failed to make a single first team appearance for the Union though and only made one appearance during a loan spell to the Harrisburg City Islanders in 2011. He was released at the start of 2012 and spent time on trial with DC United before signing for Charleston and helping them win the 2012 USL Pro Championship.
Richter did not have much success in his previous attempts to break through in MLS but he did do well with Charleston making 24 appearances and scoring 2 goals during their championship run in 2012. He returned to the Union on trial last fall after that season but did not do enough to earn a contract for his local side.
So with six trailists currently in camp TFC is taking a look at two Canadians who are looking to get their careers back on track and become regulars for the National team, three Americans who are hoping to finally break into MLS, and one Brit who just wants to find some playing time.
John Bostock is clearly the biggest name of the bunch currently with the club but all of the players should have enough quality to ensure that there is a continued competition for roster spots around TFC training in the coming days and weeks.
That competition in training seems to be what the club wants as they look for players that will be a part of the club's long term plans and who they will look to move out in the coming weeks and months as the roster overhaul continues.