Toronto FC got a lot taller today.
The Reds have announced the signing of Ben Spencer, a 6’ 5” striker currently playing for Toronto FC II. The 22-year-old’s addition to the first team has long been rumoured, but pen was finally put to paper this afternoon.
Toronto FC management have high hopes for Spencer. Earlier this season Greg Vanney alluded to fact that he was being brought in as a backup for Jozy Altidore. The club believes Spencer has many of the same attributes as Altidore in his ability to be a target man up top.
The Albuquerque, New Mexico native was a promising youth international for the United States, having great success at both the U-17 and U-20 levels. He then joined Norwegian club Molde, but rarely played. During his time at Molde he was loaned to TFC II, but suffered an injury and did not play. He joined the Young Reds permanently in 2016.
Since 2014, Spencer has had a string of knee injuries that stunted his development. However, a Chicago orthopedic surgeon diagnosed him with a rare knee condition and now healthy again, Spencer has made four starts for Toronto FC II in USL this season.
“We are excited to sign Ben to the first team. He has worked extremely hard getting himself back to full match fitness with our medical staff after missing a significant amount of time due to injury,” general manager Tim Bezbatchenko said in a press release today. “Ben has a variety of experiences playing internationally and representing the United States in multiple youth tournaments. We have no doubt he will be a welcomed addition to the team.”
Spencer’s signing comes shortly after Toronto FC had released forward Mo Babouli. He was previously a member of both the Real Salt Lake and Chivas USA academies, and therefore qualifies as a homegrown signing for TFC.
He joins an already deep Toronto FC attack that has seen Jordan Hamilton fail to get on the pitch this year despite scoring five goals in all competitions last season. That’s likely who he will be competing for time with, as Jozy Altidore, Sebastian Giovinco and Tosaint Ricketts already have established positions at this point.