clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Toronto FC academy graduates who scored their first senior goals in the past year

Seven academy products have opened their TFC accounts since the start of last season.

Sean Pollock/Waking The Red

You’ll always remember your first.

Over the last year and a half, various Toronto FC academy products have not only made their first team breakthroughs, but some have also established themselves as regulars in the team’s matchday squad week in, week out.

The likes of Jacob Shaffelburg, Jordan Perruzza, and Ralph Priso have all impressed with the senior side as they continue to catch the eyes of many during the early stages of their budding careers.

With their senior appearance numbers rising as the matchdays go by, seven players who previously played for the TFC academy have scored their first senior goals for the club since the beginning of the 2021 campaign.

Last season may have been one to forget, but for several of the club’s youngsters, their first senior goals will be cherished and remembered by them for the rest of their lives.

Five players found the back of the net in 2021, while two have already opened their accounts in 2022. Moreover, let’s take a look back at the academy graduates who grabbed their maiden TFC goals since the start of last year.

Luke Singh

vs. Vancouver Whitecaps (April 24th, 2021)

In just his second MLS appearance for Toronto FC, Singh bagged his first senior goal in his side’s 2-2 draw with the Vancouver Whitecaps at Exploria Stadium.

The strike, which opened the scoring for the Reds, came inside the first 10 minutes as Singh was in the right place at the right time to smash home the rebound after Omar Gonzalez’s header was saved by Maxime Crépeau.

The beaming smile on his face during the celebration showed just how much that meant to him, especially since he signed his first team contract just one week before scoring that goal.

Singh would go on to make four more MLS appearances in 2021 after the match against Vancouver. The defender is currently on a season-long loan at FC Edmonton in the Canadian Premier League.

Jacob Shaffelburg

vs. New York City FC (May 15th, 2021)

Shaffelburg got the monkey off his back at Yankee Stadium to level things up for Toronto with 15 minutes left to play.

Having broken into the first team in 2019, Shaffelburg’s first TFC goal left fans overjoyed. Patrick Mullins played a delicious ball to the Nova Scotian, who then coolly slotted the equalizer past Sean Johnson.

From there, Shaffelburg continued to feature sporadically for the first team, but following a sensational run of form in September, the 22-year-old became one of the first names on the team sheet.

The kid from Kentville has remained a regular under Bob Bradley in 2022, albeit in an altered role.

Noble Okello

vs. Nashville SC (June 23rd, 2021)

Unlike all the other goals on this list, Okello did not know if he had just scored his first senior goal for Toronto FC when the ball went in.

Both Okello and Mullins jumped to meet Michael Bradley’s corner in the 81st minute, and while it looked as though Mullins had headed in Toronto’s second of the game, Okello was ultimately awarded his first goal for the club.

The midfielder would go on to score once more in 2021, finding the back of the net in TFC’s 4-0 victory over York United in the Canadian Championship quarterfinals.

Ralph Priso

vs. New York Red Bulls (July 21st, 2021)

Out of the seven players who scored their firsts for the club since the start of last season, Priso is the only one who did it at BMO Field.

In the first half, Priso was subbed on after just 18 minutes of play following an injury to Auro Jr. He then delivered his side’s equalizer in the 61st minute, firing home from close range after Yeferson Soteldo’s cross was parried away by NYRB goalkeeper Carlos Coronel.

Of late, the young midfielder has been plagued by injury, but at just 19 years of age, the future is very bright for the Toronto native.

Jordan Perruzza

vs. Atlanta United (October 30th, 2021)

Despite making just five MLS appearances in 2021, Peruzza was able to open his TFC account in Toronto’s penultimate league game of the season.

TFC was already out of playoff contention, so various youngsters were given the opportunity to play significant minutes and make a case for more first team involvement the following year.

Perruzza was one of those players, with the forward featuring in three of Toronto’s final five games of the 2021 MLS season. And against Atlanta United, he found the back of the net with just two minutes left to play.

Jayden Nelson’s sumptuous ball in was met by the head of Dom Dwyer, who perfectly flicked it towards an unmarked Perruzza to finish from close range. Surely the first of many for the starlet.

Kosi Thompson

vs. Real Salt Lake (April 9th, 2022)

Now this was quite the strike.

In just his second start for the club, Thompson was the unlikely source of TFC’s first equalizer of the game. The goal was scored just two minutes after RSL’s opener, as Thompson hit a perfect volley past Zac MacMath.

A friendly reminder that this is Thompson’s debut season with the first team, and after scoring a goal like that, the youngster’s confidence is undoubtedly sky high ahead of Toronto’s upcoming fixtures.

Jayden Nelson

vs. Real Salt Lake (April 9th, 2022)

Saving the best for last? Definitely.

Nelson’s first senior goal for Toronto FC was simply spectacular. With the Reds down 2-1 with less than 15 minutes left to play, the 19-year-old let one fly from distance, and boy what a strike it was.

MacMath was well off his line, but for Nelson to catch the keeper out of place while shooting from distance showcases just how high his soccer IQ is.

Having scored for the Canadian men’s national team before TFC, this one was a long time coming for Nelson, but many will agree that it was truly worth the wait.