The pipeline from Tottenham Hotspur to Major League Soccer continued to pour on Friday.
After already picking up LA Galaxy forward Robbie Keane to the LA Galaxy and Sounders FC forward Clint Dempsey from Spurs, Toronto FC announced that England National Team forward Jermain Defoe will come to MLS as a Designated Player on February 28.
The 31-year-old striker has scored 142 goals in 362 matches in all competitions over 16 seasons, 11 of which came with Tottenham Hotspur. He also has 19 goals in 55 appearances for the England National Team, last scoring last March in a World Cup qualifier against San Marino.
Toronto now has three Designated Players, with Aregentine midfielder Matias Laba and Brazilian forward Gilberto, but is widely believed to also be adding U.S. National Team midfielder Michael Bradley as well.
The Reds are entering their eighth MLS season and have yet to reach the postseason and will open the season on March 15 at CenturyLink Field against Sounders FC.
DEMPSEY VS. JOZY
Sounders FC forward Clint Dempsey will make his return to Craven Cottage on Saturday as Fulham hosts Sunderland in Dempsey’s first Premier League match since returning to Fulham on loan from Seattle. In Sunderland, he meets a club that features another American star in Jozy Altidore.
Dempsey played 90 minutes in an FA Cup match with Norwich City last week in a 1-1 draw. Fulham will host Norwich in the replay on Tuesday.
FORMER COLLEGE STANDOUT SIGNS WITH MLS
In 2012, North Carolina forward Billy Schuler was widely believed to be among the leading contenders to be selected with the first overall pick in the MLS SuperDraft if the college junior opted to forgo his senior season and sign with the league. Instead he went to Sweden and played with Hammarby.
After scoring two goals in 26 matches over two seasons, the 23-year-old Schuler has opted to return to the U.S. and signed with Major League Soccer. He will be placed in a weighted lottery that is scheduled to take place on Tuesday to determine which team lands him – the same mechanism that sent Brian Span to FC Dallas on Thursday.
Two-time former Sounders FC goalkeeper Andrew Weber signed Friday with the Portland Timbers, while former RSL backup Kyle Reynish signed on with the Chicago Fire. Weber played with Seattle in 2012, then came on loan to the Sounders in 2013 late in the season, playing six matches over two seasons and posting a 1-2-2 record with a 1.40 goals against average. Reynish played with Real Salt Lake from 2007-2012 and spent the 2013 season in the NASL with the New York Cosmos.
In the coaching ranks, three familiar faces were named to coaching staffs around the league on Friday. The Columbus Crew named longtime Houston Dynamo goalkeeper Pat Onstad Assistant Coach under Head Coach Gregg Berhalter, marking his third stop since his retirement following the 2010 season. He started his coaching career with D.C. United, where he briefly came out of retirement to be a player/coach when injuries dwindled the roster. He worked in 2013 as Chief Scout and Manager of Football Partnerships with Toronto FC and now returns to the bench with the Crew.
In New England, former D.C. United and Vancouver Whitecaps FC Head Coach Tom Soehn has signed on to join the staff of Jay Heaps as an assistant coach.
Finally, two-time World Cup midfielder and nine-time MLS All-Star Pablo Mastroeni returned to the Colorado Rapids as a Special Assistant to the Technical Director. Mastroeni played 12 seasons with the Rapids from 2002-2013 after four seasons with the Miami Fusion. He finished his career with the LA Galaxy after a midseason trade last year, but returns to Commerce City in his new role.