Join Now | 
HomeAboutContact UsPrivacy & SecurityAdvertise
Soccer America DailySoccer World DailySpecial EditionAround The NetSoccer Business InsiderCollege Soccer ReporterYouth Soccer ReporterSoccer on TVSoccer America ClassifiedsGame Report
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
What They're Saying: Christen Press    
"I want so much more for my teammates. You can be one inch from the national ...
Seven NASL players in World Cup qualifying    
Seven NASL players have joined their national teams for World Cup qualifiers and two are off ...
Report: Frisco favorite for Hall of Fame site    
The late Lamar Hunt settled on Frisco, Texas, as the home for his MLS team, FC ...
MLS's new gold standard    
Heading into the final two months of the MLS regular season, D.C. United leads the Eastern ...
Giovinco out of Italy's Euro 2016 qualifiers    
Toronto FC forward Sebastian Giovinco's return to the Italian national team after an absence of almost ...
What They're Saying: Mesut Ozil    
"Basti showed the entire world what kind of a leader he is at the World Cup. ...
Spector recalled for first time in 18 months    
Short on outside backs, U.S. national team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann has called veteran defender Jonathan ...
What They're Saying: Brad Guzan    
"You always have someone either pushing you, or you're pushing someone else. That's the nature of ...
New York City FC gets Nemec off its books    
Slovakian Adam Nemec, the symbol of New York City FC's troubled season, is gone. The club ...
Making a List: European Summer Transfers, U.S. Abroad    
The European transfer market closed with little summer activity among Americans. Only a handful of Americans ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives