Toronto FC's Morgan earns Canadian Under-20 honor

TORONTO – Toronto FC Academy graduate Ashtone Morgan’s career has been on the rise since he signed with the first team on March 17.

He added another achievement to his impressive breakout season on Tuesday when the Canadian Soccer Association named him as Canada’s U-20 Player of the Year.

Morgan, 20, was the starting left back for TFC by season’s send in 2011, and he also earned the first two caps of his international career this year with Canada.

“We are extremely proud of him and his growth and development since he started with our academy three years ago,” TFC’s interim director of team and player operations Earl Cochrane told MLSsoccer.com “He's matured not only as a footballer but as a young man, and to have his first pro season culminate with his first cap and now this award, is a superb start to a young career.”

Morgan appeared in 14 MLS regular-season games — including nine starts — and played in all eight CONCACAF Champions League games as Toronto FC earned a spot in the quarterfinals next March.

He made his first Canadian national team start in a World Cup qualifier at BMO Field on Nov. 15 and played the full 90 minutes in a 4-0 win over St. Kitts and Nevis.

Morgan’s award is another boost for the TFC Academy, which has also produced midfielder Matt Stinson and centerback Doneil Henry.

“Absolutely, there's a sense of pride,” said Cochrane, who oversaw Morgan's development as TFC Academy director until September of last year. “The academy will be the life blood of the club and all of our coaches and academy staff should share that feeling of pride as well. We are building something special here and we are only just getting started.”