Toronto FC coach Ryan Nelsen's foraging for England-based talent continued on Thursday as the club announced the acquisition of defender Tal Ben Haim on loan from Queens Park Rangers, Nelsen's former team who are bracing for relegation from the English Premier League.
The 31-year-old Israeli international joins Toronto FC after signing with QPR in January. He made six appearances for the London club in all competitions. He has made more than 300 appearances during nine seasons in England, eight of which have been in the EPL.
“Tal Ben Haim has been one of the top defenders in the EPL for nearly a decade. He captains his national team and Ryan thinks the world of him,” said TFC president and general manager Kevin Payne in a statement. “He’s exactly the sort of veteran defender we need.”
Ben Haim began his youth career at Israeli Premier League club Maccabi Tel Aviv and went on to sign for the first team. He made his professional debut in April 2001 and was part of the club’s Israeli Premier League title-winning side in 2002-03.
He signed with EPL side Bolton Wanderers ahead of the 2004-05 season and remained with the club for three seasons, making 110 appearances across all competitions. He joined Chelsea FC for the 2007-08 season and was part of the club’s second-place finish in the Premier League and the UEFA Champions League. Ben Haim also logged time with Manchester City, Sunderland, Portsmouth and West Ham before moving to QPR.
Ben Haim has earned 71 caps to date for the Israeli national team, making his international debut against Germany in a friendly match in February 2002. His most recent cap came on March 26, 2013 in a 2014 FIFA World Cup qualification match against Northern Ireland.