Damien Perquis, a French centre-back who chose to play for the Polish national team, making 14 total appearances for them, signed for Toronto FC on January 26, 2015 after being released by Real Betis.
Perquis was signed (at the age of 30) to be another quality defender to play alongside Steven Caldwell, as TFC certainly needed one. In the previous season, 2014, Toronto FC were the 5th-worst defensive team in the league. Based on his pedigree, it looked like he was about to improve TFC’s defence vastly.
But it didn’t work out that way, especially in 2015. In the 2015 season, Steven Caldwell got injured early on the season, being forced to the sidelines for many games for what seemed to be a small injury. And after a few months Caldwell decided to call his career, and he was later replaced by Ahmed Kantari, who did really poorly during his time at TFC. With so many changes to his defensive partner in the centre-back position, ranging from an inexperienced Nick Hagglund to an uninspired Kantari, Perquis didn’t have an easy start to his career at BMO Field. Besides his defensive partners, Perquis himself didn’t perform up to scratch in MLS either. He often seemed like a young, inexperienced defender, as opposed to the experience that we thought he was going to bring to the back line. He was also really inconsistent, and because of this, it was really hard to trust if he would have a good game at the back.
With all of these factors, Toronto FC were tied for the worst defence in the league by the end of the 2015 season despite making the playoffs. In fact, they set a record for the most goals conceded by a team (58 goals) that made the playoffs; this was only broken back in 2017 when San Jose Earthquakes conceded 60 goals and still snuck into the sixth spot in the Western Conference.
In 2016, his performances improved by quite a bit in my opinion, and he started having more consistent performances. I believe a lot of this was because he had a locked-down quality centre-back beside him, in newly-arrived Drew Moor. Just 12 games into his season with the Reds, though, he abruptly mutually terminated his contract with Toronto FC, because he started getting benched for Eriq Zavaleta, who was playing well in his place. Since Zavaleta was not using an international spot and his contract was much less expensive, I believe that the club favoured him even more, and with Perquis wanting to start, it makes sense that both parties wanted to part ways with each other.
Since then, Perquis signed for English Championship team Nottingham Forest before the 2016-17 season, playing just 17 games in a little bit over a year until he also mutually terminated his contract with Nottingham on July 24, 2017. Now aged 34, he currently plays in his birth country, France, playing for GFC Ajaccio in Ligue 2. He has played there since the start of the 2017-18 season.
Was his time with Toronto FC successful? Not really. I think he’s a good defender that was faced with certain problems due to bad luck, such as Steven Caldwell getting injured right at the start of the season, which had a severe impact on TFC’s defence and on Perquis’ chance of being successful with the Reds. I think we saw that especially when his performances improved in the 2016 season because of Drew Moor playing beside him. Though I have to say, it did disappoint me that he was so inconsistent at the back. I thought he would be a bit more of a leader at the back than he turned out to be. One of the things that I did appreciate about Damien while he was playing for TFC was his big personality; he always let all of his emotions out while he was on the field, though on a few instances his emotions got the best of him which wasn’t good.
Another point as a bit of a side note was it was funny and annoying at the same time at how much people ‘butchered’ his last name. Some people would pronounce his name as something like “Peck-rees,” which if you read the name, that pronunciation doesn’t even make sense, but it was pretty funny that even the TFC commentators would sometimes get it wrong.
How successful do you think he was with the Reds? Leave your opinion on him in the comments!