Some people were surprised, and others were excited in early 2014 when it was announced that English striker Jermain Defoe would join Toronto FC of Major League Soccer (MLS).
Toronto FC had hoped to add star power and goal-scoring abilities when they signed Defoe, known for his brilliance in front of goal and remarkable tenure at teams like Tottenham Hotspur and Portsmouth.
The Toronto faithful were treated to a spectacular introduction to Defoe. His rumored $7.7 million transfer was part of a “Bloody Big Deal” marketing effort, which signaled the club’s intent to become a significant power in Major League Soccer.
Defoe’s tenure at Toronto was short
Defoe played 19 games for Toronto, scoring 11 goals. He became a fan favorite because of his uncanny ability to score when put in the best position to do so. Although he missed considerable time throughout the season due to a recurring groin problem, he still achieved an impressive goal-scoring average.
There were difficulties throughout the season, however. There was curiosity regarding his future with the club after the injury limited his participation and there was a rumor of a gap between him and former manager Ryan Nelsen.
Defoe’s MLS experience was further marred by the fact that Toronto FC missed the playoffs despite high expectations.
With the end of the 2014 campaign, Defoe’s stint in Canada ended. His brief time in Major League Soccer was cut short after signing with Sunderland in the summer. Both promise and disappointment marked the striker’s tenure.
Ex-player now wants to coach Reds one day
Last year, the now-40-year-old decided to retire. In a new podcast series for BBC Radio 5 Live, Jermain Defoe discusses his life beyond soccer and his hopes of one day managing the BMO Field side.
”I’d love to manage Toronto. Amazing facilities, amazing fans. The city was… I said to everyone, ‘You’ve got to go to Toronto’. I loved it. They loved Canadian people. If someone says we found out I had an opportunity to manage, to go over there and do coach or whatever it was, I would love to go back over there.”
“So if I got an opportunity to manage abroad, of course, you have you weigh it all up and you know pros and cons stuff like, but it’s not something that I want to say no, I’ll never do it. It just depends on the, depends on the club, depends on the project, and stuff. But yeah, of course, I’ll do that. If it’s going to help me to get to where I need to get to, then I’ll do it. To get to the top.”
Photo credit: IMAGO / Xinhua
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