Toronto Football Changes

 Avry Lewis-McDougall

Avry Lewis-McDougall

"We're not an organisation that's afraid to think outside of the box," said Toronto FC chairman Tim Bezbechkeno. "We take risks. Sometimes they work out, sometimes they don't. That's football at the highest level."

There is inherent risk any time you make a big name signing in the world of football. Jermain Defoe was one that came with great promise, but in the end, it closed with Toronto FC missing the Anschutz Cup for the 8th straight season. Defoe's time in Toronto lasted only one season. 

Defoe is now a member of Sunderland AFC in the Premier League, but Toronto did get something in return in the form of American Designated Player Jozy Altidore via a swap deal for TFC's former number 18.

The 25-year old is a household name in American football with 76 caps for his country and two trips to the World Cup under his belt. He's shown a knack for scoring on international duty as he's America's 5th all-time leading scorer. And his domestic play has taken him on a whirlwind trip across the planet.

After his early days with Red Bull New York in his first stint in the Major League, he had spells with Villarreal CF and Xerez CD in Spain, Hull City AFC in England, Bursaspor in Turkey, and AZ Alkmaar in Holland.

Altidore's best performances have come when playing in the Major League and Eredivisie. His time in England, Spain, and Turkey saw him score only 4 goals in 89 matches combined. But with Red Bull, he scored 15 goals in 37 matches, and with AZ, he scored an even better 38 goals in 67 matches.

Jozy's struggles in England is a concern for some supporters, but coming back to a league that he knows well, and playing closer to home could see a revival in his play.

 He may not be a Bloody Big Deal, but Jozy Altidore is Toronto FC's latest Designated Player. Photo by Paul Blank.

He may not be a Bloody Big Deal, but Jozy Altidore is Toronto FC's latest Designated Player. Photo by Paul Blank.

Friday's press conference to welcome the New Jersey native to Toronto was severely muted compared to last year's spectacular to announce the Defoe's transfer. Instead of holding it at Real Sports with a throng of TFC supporters in attendance, the team decided to have a low key affair with just Jozy's family, agent, MLSE staff, and the media at the Air Canada Centre. 

Winning is something that TFC has not seen a lot of in its history, but finding a way to create a culture of success not just for 2015, but on a long term basis appealed to Altidore tremendously. 

"I think what Toronto envisions, how they want to move forward with this [club], and the whole Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, fits with me in a nutshell. I want to win, and I want to be in a place where we share the same values. Looking forward, the job here is to build a winner, and get better and better every year."

Before the dust had even settled on the Altidore transfer, word broke yesterday that the team had also added Italian attacking midfielder Sebastian Giovinco, also known as the Atomic Ant, from Juventus FC. Yup, you read that correctly.

Giovinco's playmaking ability will make him one of the most dangerous players in the Major League and according to sources, he will be paid 7 million dollars per season.

So to recap that's Altidore and Giovinco with players such as Michael Bradley and Jonathan Osorio in Toronto this summer.

People may be sitting on the roof of the newly renovated BMO Field this summer for the first home game. I'm serious.