When following Toronto FC academy and the Canadian U17 program in recent years it became clear that Jordan Hamilton was one to watch. His size and raw athletic ability put him in a position to succeed from a young age but it was not until his technical ability started to round out that you really got a taste of what kind of player he could be.
Now, the 17-year-old forward has signed his first professional contract and will become the latest home grown player to join the senior team at TFC. Hamilton becomes the ninth player to make the move from the academy to the senior team and will join Doneil Henry, Ashtone Morgan, Manny Aparicio, and Quillan Roberts in the squad for next season.
The move for Hamilton has been long awaited as he has been a regular in training camp with the senior team for the past two years. He has also made a number of appearances in the reserve team getting the chance to expose him to some top level talent. The club were clearly bringing him along in the hopes of eventually making the move and now the time seemed right as he was likely drawing attention from other clubs as well as considering attending the University of Maryland in the fall.
The potential interest from other clubs would have come on the back of his impressive showing at the U17 World Cup. He was Canada's most important attacking player in that event and found himself in dangerous positions on a regular basis. Like most 17-year-old players he was not quite clinical with his chances but he did manage to score 2 of Canada's 3 goals in the event. He was also a key contributor in helping the team qualify for the World Cup.
At this point Hamilton had managed to do just about everything he could while playing in the academy. He had filled to back of the net in the CSL and then the OSL. He played against youth teams from some of the top clubs in the World and held his own all while being a fixture for Canada's U17 program.
"Jordan has progressed year after year in our Academy and deserved this opportunity," said Toronto General Manager Tim Bezbatchenko. "We are pleased to bring him up to the First Team and complement our Academy staff for their contributions to Jordan's development as a footballer."
There was nothing left for Hamilton to gain by leaving him in the academy so signing him to a home grown deal seems to be in the best interests of both the player and the club.
"I'm very happy for the opportunity to play for Toronto FC," Hamilton said. "I feel it's just the beginning and I have a lot more to give in my career."
"I always reach for my goals and I know the people who love me are proud of me. That's what I want to do with my life: reach my goals and make my family proud."
On a more personal note I could not be more excited about this signing than I am. Having had the chance to interact with Jordan over the years I have been impressed with how dedicated he is to playing for this club and for Canada. It was clear a long time ago that this is what he wanted to do and I am glad he is getting the chance.