TORONTO, Canada—Toronto FC’s youngest ever signing has arrived.
16 year old Jahkeele Marshall-Rutty made his Major League Soccer debut Saturday evening, coming on in the 72nd minute as a second-half substitute with The Reds trailing 5-0 against the Philadelphia Union. Born in June, the Brampton, Ontario native becomes the youngest Toronto FC player to ever play for the club, passing Fuad Ibrahim (16 years 10 months 27 days—at Chicago Fire, MLS, July 12, 2008).
“...I really want him (Marshall-Rutty) to get that feeling of what it’s like to play in MLS so he has that experience that he can continue to build upon as he is training, finding game time, all of that kind of stuff,” Toronto FC coach Vanney told media earlier this month. “You have to know what it feels like in order to really be able to set your sights on what you need to do keep improving, so he’ll get there.”
The youngster looked vibrant in his 17 minutes of action, creating one opportunity for himself—a volley at the top of the box—that was stopped by Andre Blake. His movement was also impressive and you can tell that he has a tremendous understanding of the game.
18-year-old midfielder Ralph Priso also made his professional debut after signing a first-team contract earlier this month. Like Marshall-Rutty, the left-footed box-to-box Canadian didn’t look like he was in over his head; he was involved for a lot of his 30 minutes of action, making tackles & connecting with several of his teammates.
While it was the showing that either of them wanted—or the debut that Greg Vanney wanted to give them as he admitted to postgame—but you could see why the TFC coach and co. were extremely really high on both of these players.
#TFCLive Bradley on Ralph Priso & Jahkeele Marshall-Rutty's debut: "That is far & away the best part of the night—that two young Toronto boys from our academy ... they both got the opportunity to make their debut & both of them showed that they are not going to be fazed one bit."— Michael Singh (@MichaelSingh94) October 25, 2020