Join Now | 
HomeAboutContact UsPrivacy & SecurityAdvertise
Soccer America DailySoccer World 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
Switzerland-USA: Klinsmann seeks chemistry     
Coming off a 3-2 loss to Denmark, which featured another last-game collapse by the Americans, Coach ...
What They're Saying: Thomas Rongen    
"On the highest level, I'm not so sure that Jurgen Klinsmann is the right person for ...
MLS Power Rankings: Gritty FC Dallas tie keeps it on top    
Down to 10 men early in the game, FC Dallas held out for a 0-0 tie ...
U-17 striker Haji Wright joins New York Cosmos    
The NASL's New York Cosmos have signed 17-year-old Southern California product Haji Wright, who started at ...
What They're Saying: CMN Sports    
"As an organization, CMN Sports takes pride in providing some of the most exhilarating soccer matches ...
Road to Russia: Belize survives Caymans' scare    
Belize, Nicaragua, Bermuda and Dominica wrapped up series victories in the first round of World Cup ...
Video Pick: A 60-yard goal from young Belgian     
Marco Weymans, a 17-year-old Belgian who plays for Dutch club PSV, scored from his own half ...
Europe in a Nutshell: Big week for the British Isles     
An international break for Euro 2016 qualifying in the pursuit of Paris: Reviewing an interesting week ...
Freddie Adu signs with Finnish club KuPS    
Freddy Adu has signed a one-year contract with Finnish club KuPS, the 11th club in 12 ...
Morris replaces Johannsson on U.S. roster    
The second forward is the snake-bitten position on the U.S. national team's trip to Europe. After ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives