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Toronto FC signs veteran MLS defender Matt Hedges

Hedges became a free agent after the 2022 MLS season following 10 years with FC Dallas.

Matt Hedges during a match last season at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas.
(Jerome Miron/USA TODAY Sports)

After a number of departures, Toronto FC has finally made their first defensive signing during this offseason.

The Reds announced that Hedges has put pen to paper on a two-year contract with options through 2026 using Targeted Allocation Money (TAM).

“Bringing a dominant centre- back was one of our priorities during this offseason, and we are happy to have Matt joining our club,” said Toronto FC President Bill Manning.

“He is an MLS Defender of the Year with a ton of MLS experience that will help lead our backline. His presence and leadership will be critical as we continue to build the roster.”

Matt Hedges, 32, has spent his entire MLS career with Dallas up to this point - he is their leader for most club appearances with 349, and scored 25 goals along the way. He was their captain since 2014 (was named the youngest captain in club history as well). His first assist in the league was on a game-winning goal as Dallas defeated Toronto FC 2-1 at Toyota Stadium in April 2014.

He is a three-time MLS All-Star, and was named the league’s best defender in 2016. The 2016 season was very memorable for Hedges also because the club won the U.S. Open Cup, along with the Supporters’ Shield.

This is not the first defender to join TFC that has formerly played for Dallas - Drew Moor began his MLS career in Texas and had a very successful time in Toronto as he was a part of the 2017 treble-winning team. Leadership is a big similarity between the two centre backs, and Hedges’ presence will hopefully lead to less conceded goals this season.

“Matt is a player with great character who brings valuable MLS experience to our group,” said Toronto FC Head Coach and Sporting Director Bob Bradley.

“He is eager for a new challenge and wants to be a part of what we are building here. We are happy to bring Matt to Toronto FC.”

There is still a ways to go with constructing the rest of the defence before the 2023 season begins, but signing Matt Hedges is definitely a step in the right direction.