Richard Eckersley

Toronto FC’s offseason overhaul took another step on Monday, when the club shipped veteran defender Richard Eckersley to the New York Red Bulls in exchange for New York’s natural 2017 MLS SuperDraft fourth-round pick.

Eckersley, 24, made 92 combined appearances across MLS league play, Amway Canadian Championship, and CONCACAF Champions League in three seasons for Toronto FC. He originally joined the club on loan from English side Burnley FC in April 2011.

Eckersley signed a permanent contract with Toronto FC at the conclusion of his loan in January 2012.

“Moving someone that has been with the club for an extended period is always a difficult decision. However with the acquisitions we made during the off-season particularly in defense, along the cap relief, this move made sense,” Toronto GM Tim Bezbatchenko said in a statement. “We’d like to thank Richard for his contributions to the club over the past three seasons and wish him all the best in New York.” 

Eckersley joins a Red Bulls team that has already parted ways with four defenders this offseason after winning the Supporters’ Shield last season. The club most recently cut ties with Swedish pro Markus Holgersson earlier this month.

“We were impressed with Richard’s play at Toronto FC and are delighted to acquire him,” Red Bulls sporting director Andy Roxburgh said in a statement. “He has a good soccer brain and is an energetic defender who can also provide positive attacking qualities on the flanks. Richard will immediately provide another solid and versatile option for us on our backline and will certainly compete for a starting role on our team.”