Join Now | 
HomeAboutContact UsPrivacy & SecurityAdvertise
Soccer America DailySpecial EditionAround The NetSoccer Business InsiderCollege Soccer ReporterYouth Soccer ReporterSoccer on TVSoccer America Classifieds
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalkSoccer America ConfidentialYouth Soccer InsiderWorld Cup Watch
RSS FeedsArchivesManage SubscriptionsSubscribe
Order Current IssueSubscribeManage My SubscriptionRenew My SubscriptionGift Subscription
My AccountJoin Now
Tournament CalendarCamps & AcademiesSoccer GlossaryClassifieds
All eyes will be on Toronto's tiny Plata
by Ridge Mahoney, January 11th, 2012 10:40PM

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
WPS owner Borislow dies of heart attack    
[OBITUARY] Dan Borislow, the controversial owner of franchise MagicJack in defunct Women's Professional Soccer, died Tuesday ...
MLS: Three games to watch    
[PREVIEW: Week 20] A pair of important Eastern Conference games and the first showdown of the ...
Teen star Saucedo becomes first Utahn to sign with RSL    
[MLS TRANSACTIONS] Real Salt Lake has signed 17-year-old academy star Sebastian Saucedo from RSL Arizona as ...
Teenager Hyndman in Fulham squad for Jax match    
[INTERNATIONAL FRIENDLIES] Emerson Hyndman, the 18-year-old grandson of former FC Dallas coach Schellas Hyndman, is in ...
Concorde Fire plays PDA Harkes for McGuire Cup    
[U.S. YOUTH SOCCER] Georgia's Concorde Fire Elite and New Jersey's PDA Harkes will play Saturday for ...
What They're Saying: Arsene Wenger    
"He is a player with a good eye and good technique and is very agile. He ...
Top 20 U.S. soccer crowds    
[CROWD COUNT] Wednesday's game between the LA Galaxy and Manchester United drew 84,632 fans at the ...
Galaxy II signs academy product Jaime Villarreal    
[USL PRO] Jaime Villarreal, younger brother of Jose Villarreal, signed with LA Galaxy II, becoming the ...
Falcao is back! Playing baseball    
[VIDEO PICK: Off the Post] Colombian Radamel Falcao, recovering from an ACL injury, was perhaps the ...
Freddy Adu's latest stop: Serbia    
[AMERICANS ABROAD] A decade after making his pro debut at the age of 14 with D.C. ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives