Join Now  | 
Home About Contact Us Privacy & Security Advertise
Soccer America Daily Soccer World Daily Special Edition Around The Net Soccer Business Insider College Soccer Reporter Youth Soccer Reporter Soccer on TV Soccer America Classifieds Game Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalk Soccer America Confidential Youth Soccer Insider World Cup Watch
RSS Feeds Archives Manage Subscriptions Subscribe
Order Current Issue Subscribe Manage My Subscription Renew My Subscription Gift Subscription
My Account Join Now
Tournament Calendar Camps & Academies Soccer Glossary Classifieds
All eyes will be on Toronto's tiny Plata
by Ridge Mahoney, January 11th, 2012 10:40PM
Subscribe to Soccer America Daily

MOST READ
TAGS:  toronto fc

MOST COMMENTED

[MLS SPOTLIGHT] A year ago, Joao Plata might have been the youngest player at the adidas MLS Combine as well as the smallest.

Those two characteristics may have scared off a few teams, despite the amazing skills and outrageous ideas displayed by the 18-year-old Ecuadoran. Toronto FC, desperately trying to revive a team that had missed the playoffs in each of its four seasons, selected him near the end of the 2011 SuperDraft. Only five players were taken after TFC used the 49th overall selection on Plata, a 5-foot-2 winger whom LDU Quito was willing to send out on loan.

After he scored three goals, registered five assists, and provided dozens of dazzling moments in 26 league games and a handful of international club appearances, TFC head coach Aron Winter and TFC officials commenced negotiations to keep him. On Wednesday, they confirmed reports of a successful conclusion; details of the deal haven’t been specified.

“We are very happy to get this deal completed and keep Plata at our club,” said Winter, who is also TFC’s technical director, in a statement. “Plata had a great year with us in 2011. He made a strong contribution on the pitch.

“Re-signing Plata was a high priority for our club during the offseason. I have to compliment everyone involved for making this a reality. Plata wanted to remain in Toronto and we wanted to keep him. We know our fans will be happy with this announcement.”

Plata, who turns 20 in March, was named winner of the George Cross Memorial Trophy (MVP) for his play in the Nutrilite Canadian Championship by which TFC qualified for the CONCACAF Champions’ League.

He then lit up the CCL with four goals and an assist as TFC advanced to the quarterfinals. Twice he hit two goals in a game, including a 3-0 victory over MLS rival FC Dallas that clinched TFC’s qualification.

“He’s difficult to play against,” says Paul Mariner, the former English international who is in charge of TFC’s player development. “In a league where most people generalize only big, strong players who are six-foot one or two or three can make it, it’s fantastic to have this little guy who’s so exciting. In the old numbering system, he'd be between a 7 and an 11, and he gives teams a lot of problems in the 4-3-3 [formation]. He’s one to keep an eye on.”

With a long-term deal in place, TFC fans plan on doing exactly that.



1 comment
  1. John DiFiore
    commented on: January 14, 2012 at 10:51 p.m.
    WOW! Great news!! I'm not a TFC fan, but this kid is one of the best in the league!! I love watching him play!! He did help put MLS on the CCL map!! That's always huge! Congrats Plata!

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Soccer America Daily
What They're Saying: Mike Piazza    
"I remember, as a player, complaining if we had a small plane, 'We couldn't get a ...
What They're Saying: Danny Cowley    
"It's life-changing for us. It's game-changing for the profile of our club. Football at our level ...
MLS Camp Chatter: Villa sees red on review    
In the last weekend before the first MLS teams play official competition -- three will play ...
MLS Moves: Glad and Allen ink fresh deals with RSL    
Two highly regarded Homegrown products have been rewarded with new contracts. Real Salt Lake has announced ...
MLS: Marsch gives loanee Murillo good marks on first day    
Panamanian right back Michael Amir Murillo, acquired by the Red Bulls on loan over the weekend ...
Video Pick: Cristiano Ronaldo's amazing nutmeg     
Cristian Ronaldo beat defender Espanyol David Lopez by turning an elastico move -- feinting swiftly to ...
Results: Concacaf U-20 World Cup Qualifying    
Host Costa Rica fell, 1-0, to El Salvador in Group C while defending champ Mexico beat ...
What They're Saying: Dwight Yorke    
"I couldn't quite believe what was happening. I have lost count of the number of times ...
U.S. Abroad: Brooks' Hertha holds Bayern    
John Brooks' Hertha Berlin was seconds away from beating Bayern Munich when Robert Lewandowski scored to ...
USA loses U-20 qualifying opener to 10-man Panama    
The USA's qualifying campaign for the 2017 U-20 World Cup started poorly when it fell, 1-0, ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives