|To see more go here --->|
TFC grab five players with top-level college experience for 2008
Mo Johnston and his staff compiled another promising group of young talent as TFC grabbed five players with top-level college beginning with highly touted defenders Julius James and Pat Phelan in the first round,
"It's going to be a process, and my mind is really open," said James, who was quick to cite Toronto's large West Indian community as a major factor that should ease his adjustment to a new environment. "So I'll have to go through a very steep learning curve, and I hope the technical staff and the guys over there are going to help me with that."
Johnston clearly believes that both players possess the ability to make a splash on par with Edu's MLS Rookie of the Year performance in 2007. "We are delighted to have two players of the quality of Julius and Pat," said Johnston. "Both had superb senior years and we think they are capable of battling for a place in our first eleven.
From what we have seen and heard they have all the attributes to be solid professionals."
Phelan's college teammate Brian Edwards soon joined him in TFC colors, as the Reds sent allocation money to the LA Galaxy in exchange for the 28th overall pick and selected the former Demon Deacons goalkeeper.
Edwards was delighted to join his fellow Wake product, and in light of Toronto's struggles between the posts in 2007, expressed high hopes for garnering significant playing time in his rookie season.
"As a player, you're very competitive and you always want to challenge for those minutes on the field, and I feel like this is a great situation to do that," said Edwards. "I'm really looking forward to it."
"I'm just really excited to play in that environment in Toronto," said Edwards. "I know they sell out all their games, and you could hear them here over the course of the draft giving some of the other fans a little bit of stick. As for me, I'm going to put all my efforts forward, just going to lay it out on the line for them, and hopefully they'll really respect that."
Johnston selected defender Mike Zaher, a former U.S. youth international, in the third round (30th pick overall) before using TFC's final draft selection to take a flyer on striker Joseph Lapira with the 35th overall slot.
The Notre Dame standout and 2006 M.A.C. Hermann Trophy winner holds an Irish passport and is understood to be strongly considering the European club opportunities that it opens up. But should Lapira wind up in MLS, Toronto will own the rights to a prospect worthy of a first-round pick.
Even more promising, TFC's fanatical fan support and cozy BMO Field home have already established the young club as an inviting destination for quality players.
Johnston makes move to TFC front office