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
What They're Saying: Bruce Arena    
"For years, MLS had a weekly injury report that was largely inaccurate. Until somebody comes up ...
U.S. under-17 men's national team roster    
U.S. head coach under-17 men's national team Richie Williams has named a 20-player roster for the ...
Business Reporter: Union teams up with Dogfish Head    
The Philadelphia Union will open a new destination beer garden with Dogfish Head Brewery at PPL ...
Columbus switches USL PRO affiliations    
The Columbus Crew will team up with the Austin Aztex to send players from its first ...
Lee Nguyen: Sitting back is not in Revs' DNA    
The New England Revolution tied an MLS record when it scored nine goals in its first ...
What They're Saying: Jerome Valcke    
"It is easy to destroy a reputation, it takes one second, it takes years to build ...
Champions League scenarios: 11 teams for five spots    
Eleven teams have qualified for the knockout stage of the Champions League, and 11 more teams, ...
Video Pick: Bend it like Uesato    
Our favorite free kick goal of the week comes from J-League 2, where Consadole Sapporo's Kazumasa ...
Breaking down the NCAA Division I women's quarterfinals    
The NCAA Division I Women's Tournament moves into the quarterfinals with three games on Friday and ...
A back-heel sombrero from Greek boy     
[VIDEO PICK: Skills] Greek youth soccer, in a game between AO Ioannina and Agia Eleousa, delivers ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives