Koevermans eyes TFC return, but Payne ponders buyout
TORONTO – Danny Koevermans isn't done quite yet – the former Dutch international feels he has a few good years left in him once he returns from knee surgery.
“I still want to continue playing after this year for sure,” Koevermans said before the team left for Orlando to continue preseason training. “That’s why this is an important time for me. That’s why I don’t want to rush it because if I rush it and I do it again ... then for sure, my career is over.”
Although the 34-year-old striker is ahead of schedule in his return from a torn ACL suffered last July 14 at New England, he is not expected back until June, which he hopes is a new beginning.
“I’ve never been as fit in my career before when I got injured,” he said. “And I feel fit, so I think if I just live healthy like I always did then – you see other players who can hold on until they’re 37 or 38 and hopefully I can do that, too.”
Koevermans has scored a respectable 17 goals in 26 league games for the Reds since he was signed as a Designated Player in June of 2011, but he would like to leave an even bigger mark on Toronto before retiring.
“I want to be back and I want to score as many goals as possible for Toronto,” he said. “And this knee injury was a bad influence on that, it was like a line through my plans so that’s also why I want to come back. The main goal first would be to get into the playoff run and it would be nice if my name could hang on the wall [of honor at BMO Field].”
Koevermans’ ambitions would be thwarted if TFC uses their option to buy out one DP every season on him. Toronto's DP situation is in flux, with midfielder Torsten Frings coming back from hip surgery and striker Eric Hassli expected to be on the way to FC Dallas.
“We certainly have that option,” club president and general manager Kevin Payne told reporters on Thursday. “I don’t think we feel like we have to make that decision yet. I don’t want too much attention to be focused on Danny. We have a bunch of decisions to make and some of those decisions may be not to make a decision and just continue the way it is.”
Payne added Koevermans probably would return to full training about the first of June, meaning he would likely not see match action until the end of that month.
“So that’s something we have to weigh,” the former D.C. United executive said. “Danny has been very productive when he’s been healthy. He’s demonstrated that he can score but we have to look at the big picture.”