TFC announced today that Emery Welshman has been placed on waivers.
The 22-year old Canadian Forward/Midfielder, selected sixteenth overall in the 2013 MLS SuperDraft after a strong college career that culminated at Oregon State, saw limited action in 2013, playing just five league minutes at the end of the season opener in Vancouver last March, as well as the full ninety against Montreal in the opening leg of the Voyageurs Cup, though he did see extensive time with the reserves.
The decision comes just two-plus weeks before the start of the 2014 season, possibly in order to allow Welshman time to find a new team before the schedule commences, and is indicative of the player being neither in the long, nor short-term plans of Coach Ryan Nelsen. The club currently has 28 players, including unsigned draft picks, listed on their roster, below the cap of 30 players required by the league’s roster compliance day on 1 March, so Welshman’s departure may well herald additional roster moves in the coming days and weeks.
It was unlikely that the player was going to see much of the field this season, what with the midfield depth and attacking options currently available, though he was a prime candidate for a loan to TFC’s USL PRO affiliate, the Wilmington Hammerheads FC (registering 9% of the 350 votes in WTR’s poll of who should be sent out on loan, good enough for sixth place).
As per MLS’ Roster Rules and Regulations (albeit the 2013 edition, as it has yet to be updated for the current season), Welshmen will be made available to the rest of the league via the waiver process - and some mildly-complex mathematical gyrations - for a 48-hour claiming period, once they have been notified.
The departure of yet another development player from the club does signal a certain failing.
There are a variety of mechanisms through which MLS teams can get better, and while the draft and homegrown signings are less-flashy than the international transfer market, they remain strong tools for player acquisition that should be maximized by successful clubs.
Entering its eighth season, TFC has repeatedly failed to make the most of its generous draft position - this list, courtesy of TFCpics.com, makes for unpleasant reading – while their homegrown program has at times appeared rushed and ill-considered, especially prior to having a proper outlet to ensure those still developing can get much-needed game time – though, to be fair, their retention rate is better than several other MLS clubs.
Hopefully Welshman will find himself a new club in short order, if not in MLS, then with a club in either NASL or USL. Both FC Edmonton and Ottawa Fury FC have been snapping up young domestic talent, so do not be surprised if Welshman pops up at either of those two locales.
He took to twitter shortly after the official news was released…
Thanks to all the fans for your love and support. It is what it is. Wherever I end up, Toronto will always be home.— Emery Welshman (@Esawelsh) February 25, 2014
Waking the Red would like to wish Emery the best of luck in his continued career and future endeavours; wherever you end up, you’ll always be a Red.