With just 17 days to go until the start of Toronto’s USL League 1 season, things are coming together for TFC II as the roster continues to take shape ahead of their May 22 first kick.
After signing Nakye Greenidge-Duncan, Dante Campbell, Steffen Yeates and Garrett McLaughlin in April, the club is bolstering its roster with two new defenders who will join the team pending league and federation approval.
On Wednesday, Head Coach Mike Munoz and TFC II announced the signings of veteran USL defender Kevin Politz and 2021 MLS SuperDraft selection Talen Maples. With these new signings, TFC II’s roster is now up to 13 players— so, they finally have enough to play a game.
Maples, Toronto’s selection in the third round of the MLS SuperDraft in 2021, is the first of TFC’s four picks to sign a contract with the club in either MLS or USL. The defender comes to TFC after playing three seasons at Southern Methodist University (SMU) in the American Athletic Conference (AAC).
Maples has also had the opportunity to train with the TFC first-team in Florida, where he has impressed not only Munoz and the USL staff but also the higher-ups at the club who see a future for the 22-year-old.
“Talen has shown extremely well in front of the first team staff during preseason,” said Munoz in a press release. “We are excited to add him to our second team roster, where he will bring leadership and experience to our backline.”
Through his three years at SMU, Maples scored four goals and added eight assists in 49 appearances and earned several conference honours, including the AAC First Team All-Conference in 2018 and the All-Rookie team in 2017.
With Toronto’s record of developing SuperDraft picks through TFC II, there is a chance that Maples could rise to MLS within the next few seasons. While he is not a high-pick, such as Tsubasa Endoh or Ifunanyachi Achara, he fits the club’s vision and enters a pipeline that has proven to be successful.
While Maples is a potential MLS player, Politz, 25, is a solid USL veteran defender who comes to the Reds after playing for the USL Championship’s Hartford Athletic in 2020. Before his time in Hartford, Politz spent time with League 1’s Greenville Triumph and New York Red Bulls II.
Coming from the Red Bulls organization, he has experience playing in a system utilized by TFC first-team Head Coach Chris Armas. Having players with experience with Armas’ tactics on the USL Reds will be valuable in establishing a consistent playing style throughout the football club.
“We are delighted to add Kevin to our team as he brings a skillset and profile that will help us achieve our goals,” Munoz said in the club’s release. “He has an array of professional experience that will positively impact our team, and we are excited to have him on board.”
Before joining the pro ranks, Politz played with Wake Forest University, where he made 72 appearances in four seasons and earned ACC Defensive Player of the Year honours.
With the roster taking shape and the season fast approaching, Toronto FC II is preparing to return to action for the first time since 2019. While some of the league’s sides have begun play, TFC II kick off their 2021 USL League 1 season in Casa Grande, Arizona, on May 22 against North Texas SC.