Average Ranking: 11.38
Highest Ranking: 5
Lowest Ranking: 26
Armen: 9. It has been quite the transformative season for Jeremy Hall.
We called him the "rich man's Dan Gargan" last year when he finished in 18th overall in our rankings, but he's shown to be worth his value this season in midfield. Hall did for Toronto FC what many a midfielder failed to do; he looked competent and was reliable when called upon by his coach. Ryan Nelsen's first tactical change of the year may have been the switch to a 4-4-2, but a close second would be the conversion (or, reconversion) of Hall, and for that, he comes out looking like a smart manager, indeed.
It's a change Hall took to with enthusiasm, too. I spoke with him at the end of the season, where he said:
"I was playing in a new position that I thought I did okay in during the year. I’m very hard on myself, so I know I can definitely get better. It’s something I’m going to work on in the offseason, to take better care of my body and get a little bit fitter, and work on the different movements as a centre mid."
Let's take a look at some of the numbers, shall we?
Hall played in 31 league games this season, starting 26 of those games. He played mostly as a central midfielder and was most often paired alongside Jonathan Osorio or Matias Laba. With 2280 minutes to his name, he managed to play about 500 more minutes than last year, a career high. In terms of output, Hall provided one assist and scored just the one goal, which came against Houston and gave Toronto FC a 1-1 draw against the MLS Cup semifinalists.
Hall joked after that game that he only ever scores against Houston; he managed to replicate the same goal he scored in 2012, against the Dynamo, doing it with real style.
He was also good for five yellow cards throughout the season, but never saw red, making him one of Nelsen's most reliable choices in midfield. His playing style is similar to that of Laba, in that he plays a recovery role with the goal of trying to intercept the ball in the middle of the park and then redistribute to a winger or a forward. He performed this role with a degree of consistency higher than what we've normally seen at Toronto FC.
Even at his worst, he was never directly responsible for a goal and didn't make any huge gaffes in the season. Sure, he disappeared from a few games, but when he made his presence felt, Toronto FC clicked, especially on the left where he, Ashtone Morgan and Bobby Convey seemed to connect most often.
The one number that seems to matter the most for many TFC fans, though, is his salary. Last season, Hall made nearly $150,000, but he signed on a new contract and is now at $90,000 a year. This makes him great value for dollar, especially in a league with a salary cap. There's no excuse to shed the player of the team based on his salary, and Toronto FC need five more like him to bolster the bench at a reasonable price.
Off the field, I have the pleasure of saying he's a good guy and a good friend, too. Always courteous and professional, well-spoken but with character. Hall is one of those guys who you can tell genuinely loves what he does every day. He and his pals Andrew Wiedeman and Joe Bendik became Toronto FC's most advertised players; it always felt strange eating a Subway sandwich and being stared down by the trio on the plastic cup.
He also has a fun social media presence, and a weird game where he puts things on his head and asks people to guess what it is.
Not entirely sure what to make of that one! The "thing" on his head remains unsolved, though, so if anyone can figure it out, that'd be great.
At 11, Jeremy Hall didn't do quite enough to break into the top 10, but he did do enough to earn a spot in the countdown's starting XI; he quietly went about his business and impressed us all, and for that, we thank you. I told Jeremy at the end of the 2012 season that he better be back next season; I'll issue that same request again.
Jeremy, you better be back for the 2014 season!
Duncan: 5 I was very happy when someone else volounteered for this one as I'm finding it hard to come up with much to say about Hall. I put him at number 5, mainly due to the amount he played. Outside of the obvious top 4, of those who played a lot he was the best, or at least the most consistent which was enough to get him higher than those more talented who got half a season. Maybe it's the pleasant surprise factor, after really not looking good last year at Right back I had very low expectations but a move back to his former midfield position worked wonders. Looked at his best when alongside Laba, which is fair enough, but I don't remember him being terrible when paired with more attack minded Osorio or Russell. Again, when thinking of all the late game collapses, there's none I can remember that I'd pin on HalI. I guess that, and a very pretty goal were good enough to get into my top 5 for the year.
Dave: 7. Hall was pretty much a fixture in Toronto FC's midfield and proved that he is a far better DM than he was a right back. His play beside Laba was solid and the pair seemed to be working well but when he was playing without Laba as a lone DM or alongside Russell things were not always great as he seemed to struggle with the increased responsibilities.
James: 6. One of the revelations of the season, found his feet in the MF after bouncing around & not getting consistent time, displayed good passing & scored a goal - still switches off on occasion.
Kristin: 14. He's OK (find myself saying that about a lot of TFC players) and actually held his own for large chunks of the season in the midfield but needs an experienced player next to him. Thankfully not asked to play defense this season (please never repeat that nightmare), he can stay.
a_miller16: Only on the team because he's american and comes cheap, could say that about a lot of guys though…
Bruce Harding. Decent depth player, shouldn't be a starter. Doesn't do too much wrong but doesn't offer much.
David kent: May have ranked too high (10),positional play and reading not up to par.
Hoddle: did better than I expected as a holding mid, decent depth player.
Izaac: Well deserving of a top ten just for his grit and commitment to his position
JD: Not much to say here. He's had some good games, and some bad. He's probably a decent depth player.
Mark_HSV: I'm only at number 8 and I'm already into players that I don't think are very good. Wow. I guess Hall was the best and most consistent of the not very good players. He's not too bad now that he plays central midfield. Laba and hopefully a new DP will take over from him next year, but he is a decent depth player at least.
Michaelvee: Hall is a mystery to me. Last year he was the deadest dead weight on the team, I couldn't believe he wasn't cut. Now he looks like he belongs in MLS in that central role. To be fair, San Jose started Ty Harden and Nana Attakora next to each other in central defence this year, and that means there's hope for us all.
Mweezy: Pleasant surprise, plus his smartass grin after he fouls someone is usually the highlight of the match
Prizby: Most improved player on this team by far (osorio doesn't count as it is his first year); massive steps made as he made the transition to centre mid which has been good for him because he was a liability as a fullback and now he has had a chance to play the same type of way, but with cover behind him
Red Wine Roz: I would vote him most improved player over last year.
Robert Snider: Dunfield / Hall - not much to choose between them to me… flipped a coin and kept Hall. Lambe with a bit more talent.
Spence Snell:Had no idea he played the most games after bendik- while he wasn't spectacular, he was significantly improved from last season and consistently… okay.
The Yorkies: A utility piece who is fine in a pinch off the bench. Little else.
TimmerJ_75: Most under rated player for 2013 contribution on pitch.
Yohan: Nelsen readjusted his game to that of a DM and Hall has done well enough to be worth keeping. One of better players in the first third of the season, his utility and reasonable salary makes him worth keeping. Occassionally surprises with mazy runs through the centre, but also a lot of bash head against wall moments with some incredibly poor lapses in judgement defensively.