Editorial Note: Unfortunately, the popular Top 40 Countdown series will be done a little bit differently this year. This is somewhat a byproduct of the timing of the management changes made to the site. But it is also a personal error on my (Mitchell) part for not doing proper research on how the series has been done in the past. As such, the regular comments section interaction piece: you guys ranking and giving your two cents on players, will not be included. I apologize for this oversight. Instead, the rankings have been done internally (wow that sounds suspiciously like MLSE) and we will have profiles on who we picked in our top 30, instead of 40.
On September 15, Chris Mannella became Toronto FC's tenth Homegrown Player. Considering his accolades, it was only a matter of time. Mannella was named the captain of the senior academy team and scored two goals in the team's inaugural League 1 Ontario season. His team hardly skipped a beat, with only one loss. They beat the Kingston Clippers 3-1 to take home the League 1 Ontario championship.
He has graduated to the senior side, meaning that he could not play the latter part of the season with his club. But his team continues to have success, beating CS Longeuil in the first Inter-Provincial cup, played between the top D3 teams in Quebec and Ontario. He also currently leads a poll on the league's website for which player should be named League 1 MVP.
This year Mannella truly developed into a solid holding midfielder, and everything that surfaced about him seemed to say the same things about his game. All of them were positive for someone who plays his position, or any position for that matter. The first is that he is not only confident and an excellent distributer on the ball, he is also incredibly calm. This is something that, sadly, is fairly uncommon among young Canadian players. He is also incredibly mature, hence the fact that he earned the captaincy.
Mannella never did play a minute for the senior team, but was on the bench later in the season which indicates he just might see a bit of time with TFC next season, provided his development continues at its current trajectory. He was signed by the senior team just shortly after Greg Vanney was named head coach. This certainly is indicative of Vanney rating him.
But it is far more likely that he will spend next season with the Wilmington Hammerheads, as he did for parts of this year. This is positive, as Wilmington has been an excellent spot for TFC prospects this season. Jordan Hamilton's play earned him a loan to Portugal with CD Trofense. Manny Aparicio earned his first cap for Canada against Colombia. Quillan Roberts started 17 matches, and has six clean sheets.
Mannella, for his part, never actually played a match for Wilmington. But he did spend some time with the club for training purposes in the summer. This is a positive in terms of getting him acclimatized to his surroundings, and by all accounts he impressed the staff who will be working closely with him next season.
If he continues to develop at the rate he has been, he is certainly on pace to keep up the moniker of young players finding success with Toronto's USL Pro affiliate. His assentation to the senior Canadian national team may follow in short order. There has already been talk that he is highly rated by those in the CSA who have watched him play.
By all indications, Mannella looks primed to become more Jonathan Osorio than Oscar Cordon, and for that reason he has cracked the bottom of the Waking The Red top 30 countdown.