Busy day sees TFC take big step in molding team
TORONTO — It isn’t taking long for Aron Winter and the rest of TFC’s new management staff to put their stamp on the club.
Without a first-round pick in Thursday's SuperDraft, the Reds made waves by trading striker Chad Barrett to the L.A. Galaxy for future considerations and goalkeeper Jon Conway to Chicago for the Fire’s third round selection.
The club indicated that the move was made for salary considerations.
“We made this move to give us more flexibility in building our squad for the new season,” Toronto FC head coach and technical director Aron Winter said. “This creates more cap space, which will help us create a team capable of playing the style of soccer we are looking for.”
However, the club did add talent on the day. The Reds selected University of California product Demitrius Omphroy with the 26th pick overall.
WATCH: Demitrius Omphroy highlights
The selection fills a need. With the departure of the club’s top three fullbacks from 2010 —Raivis Hscanovics , Maxim Usanov and Nick Garcia – Omphroy will be given a good chance to earn a starting position.
Omphroy told MLSsoccer.com that he was surprised at being selected by the Reds.
“I’m more than excited,” he said. “I didn’t know Toronto was interested and they were actually on my short list of places I wanted
Omphroy was a college teammate of TFC keeper Stefan Frei and said that his friendship with Frei was one of the factors that made him want to come north.
According to TFC director of player personnel Paul Mariner, the Reds think they have a quality player and, as importantly, individual.
“We were pleasantly surprised to see him available," Mariner said. “We talked to his college coach and did a full background on him and he obviously comes from a great family and is clearly intelligent, coming from Cal … Bob and Aron really liked his speed and technique.”
Omphroy described himself as an attacking fullback and cited his speed as is his biggest asset. He said that he was excited to play under the new TFC staff.
“I just want to get up there and make an impression,” he said.
A colorful personality — Omphroy is an avid Tweeter (@MeatyTwit) and has a significant amount of tattoos – he said he is also looking forward to interacting with Toronto fans.
“I always love to connect with fans to show them that I’m a normal guy,” he said. “I’ve been getting all kinds of messages already from people in Toronto welcoming me. I hope to reply to all of them.”
Toronto also picked up three other players. With the 43rd selection they grabbed University of Ohio defender Matt Gold before selecting Cal Poly midfielder Junior Burgos at No. 44. With the pick obtained from Chicago, the Reds took Ecuadorean forward Joao Plata.
Mariner says that the later picks will be given every opportunity to make an impression.
“Past experience tells me that they can be anything they want,” Mariner said. “They are coming into a situation where they will have world-class coaching and will have a clean slate. It’s up to them.”