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TFC II make two signings ahead of their 2021 USL League 1 return

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Toronto FC II has signed academy product Steffen Yeates and American forward Garret McLaughlin to USL contracts for 2021.

USL Photo - Toronto FC II, lining up ahead of a clash with Louisville City FC, will play their final match at the Ontario Soccer Centre on Saturday night against FC Cincinnati Martin Bazyl

TORONTO, Canada—Toronto FC II announced a pair of signings on Thursday morning in preparation for their USL League 1 season that kicks off a month from today.

TFC II signed American forward Garrett McLaughlin and TFC Academy product Steffen Yeates to USL contracts. Both will be added to the roster once the league and federation approve the signings.

While Yeates is coming right out of NCAA soccer, McLaughlin has pro experience under his belt from playing with the Rio Grande Valley Toros, the USL Championship affiliate of the Houston Dynamo.

McLaughlin, 23, featured in 11 matches with the Toros in 2020, mere months after the Dynamo selected him 8th overall in the 2020 MLS SuperDraft. Before his time with the Toros, the Oklahoma-born forward played collegiate soccer from 2016-2019 at Southern Methodist University.

While he could not score a goal in his first pro campaign, he scored at an impressive clip in college, with 36 goals and 13 assists through 72 appearances. His play earned him Freshman of the Year honours for the American Athletic Conference in 2016 while also landing him on All-ACC First Team in 2017 and 2019.

“Garrett is a tireless attacking threat who will provide us with much-needed versatility up the field,” TFC II head coach Mike Munoz said in a release. “His ability to find space in the channels and threaten opposing backlines will be a welcomed addition to our team.”

Yeats, however, is another feather in the cap of Toronto’s development system. While the now-21 year old has played two years of NCAA soccer, he came through the TFC Academy system, which has produced professionals since its inception.

Before moving to collegiate soccer, Yeates suited up for TFC II in four games in 2018, making his USL debut on April 26, 2018, nearly three years to the day that he is rejoining the club.

After a brief stint with TFC II, the Toronto-born midfielder began his collegiate career with the University of Connecticut Huskies before transferring to Oregon State for the rest of his collegiate career. Through a combined 31 NCAA matches, Yeates scored three goals, as well as an assist.

“Steffen is a talented young midfielder who we have seen up close for several years in our academy system,” Munoz said in a club release. “We are excited to see him continue his growth as a professional within our club and look forward to his contributions this season.”

A former Canadian youth international, Yeates represented his country at the Concacaf Men’s U17 Championship in 2017 while also pulling on the national team red at the 2018 Men’s U20 Championship.

While Yeates grew up in Ontario, first in Toronto before moving to Vaughan, he is bilingual in French and English. After moving to Vaughan when he was two, he played with Vaughan SC, where he also was a part-time referee for two years from 2015-17.

Toronto FC II did not play in 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions but are returning in 2021, playing matches in the USA. Head coach Mike Munoz, his two new signings and the rest of TFC II kick off their 2021 USL League 1 season in Casa Grande, Arizona, on May 22 against North Texas SC.