A member of the 1998 class, he signed with TFC II on March 8 last season and turned 19 in November. He was the 26th Toronto FC Academy graduate to sign a professional contract.
He will wear the number 50 jersey for Toronto FC this season and can be followed on Instagram.
The goal came in the 11th minute, assisted by Liam Fraser, who picked out Srbely on the left, allowing him to surge into the area past a pair of defenders before beating the keeper with a deft outside-of-the-boot touch.
“The ball popped back out into our midfield after Ryan [Telfer] caused some havoc up front,” recounted Srbely on Wednesday. “Liam picked me out across the channel, I took a touch forward, saw some space. I wasn’t really thinking, just went for it and placed it in the corner.”
Teammate Robert Boskovic assessed Srbely’s first USL strike: “He was confident on the ball, took it in stride. Great finish as well. Showed great composure for such a young player. I was really proud for him to get his first goal.”
Added Srbely: “It’s a huge milestone for me, but I was just happy to help the team. I hope it doesn’t stop there.”
In 2017, Srbely made four appearances, amassing 275 minutes in his first taste of USL. He made his debut on August 13 against Bethlehem Steel, coming on in the 70th minute of a 3-1 loss.
“It was amazing to get out there,” said Srbely days later. “It’s been a long time coming.”
“I like playing a short passing game,” explained Srbely of the type of player he is. “More than that I like to help the team any way I can, whether that is chasing a guy down 50 yards or playing it simple, whatever it may be.”
A tenacious two-way midfielder, Srbely has shown that intense work-rate, earning the praise of his teammates, while also displaying an ability to get forward into the attack, as his goal in New York attests.
“Great player,” said former teammate Brian James last August. “He’s a competitor. He fights; he’s very hard to get around. After the game I went up to him, shook his hand, said congrats on your debut. I’m excited for him and his future.”
It is his competence and confidence on the ball that catches the eye.
“He is improving,” said TFC II coach Laurent Guyot. “He’s really comfortable technically. I like this type of player, not scared to have the ball, use the ball. They have the desire to play forward all the time. I like this profile. [He] needs to improve his decision making to be more efficient, especially in the last third.”
With a year at the USL level under his belt, Srbely reflected on stepping up to the professional game.
“The biggest change is the details,” he said. “The weight of pass, the slight movements off the ball. The small details that add up over the course of 90 minutes that make up a game.”
Expect to see much more of him in the midfield for TFC II this season.
“Matt keeps coming on every year,” said Greg Vanney. “He’s a relentless worker, a lot of confidence in himself, both his physical and technical ability.”
“He is a guy who had options to go to university and really wanted to stay, to push forward, pursue his path at the professional level,” explained Vanney. “He keeps making progress. Where he is evolving now as a player is taking the physical output he is capable of doing, the technical side, and tying it into being more efficient for team, tactically aware, and fitting in within group, be efficient both attacking and defending.”
“He’s shown the ability to make plays, not just [against the Red Bull], but in the past,” added Vanney. “Hopefully we can keep taking steps forward with him and he becomes an interesting option down the line.”
This is the first of what’s sure to be many profiles of TFC II players. So, with that in mind, we’d love to hear your suggestions for a snappier title to this series!