TRANSFER TRACKER STATUS: Signing
Toronto FC have acquired Venezuelan winger Yeferson Soteldo from Brazilian club Santos, the club announced Monday. Soteldo becomes the club's third Designated Player and is under contract through 2025.
Soteldo, 23, had 18 goals and 16 assists in 85 matches across all competitions for Santos. He also has three goals and three assists in 25 Copa Libertadores matches, reaching that combined point via Santos and previous stops at Venezuelan side Zamora and Universidad de Chile (loan). Named to the 2020 Copa Libertadores Best XI, he was regarded as one of the top players from last year's tournament, the most prestigious club competition in South America. He was also named to the 2020 Team of the Year in the Campeonato Paulista.
“We are very excited for Yeferson to join our club. He is a dynamic, exciting, fearless player who will immediately improve our already strong roster,” TFC president Bill Manning said in a club statement. “He checks the boxes of what we were looking for in a DP, an attacking player who adds a different dimension to our side, and I think our fans will be excited to see him in a TFC uniform.”
On the international stage, Soteldo has one goal and three assists in 19 appearances for Venezuela. He featured at Copa America 2019 and is part of his country's current World Cup qualifying hopes in the Conmebol region. He is the latest Venezuelan international to come to MLS, following the likes of Josef Martinez, Jhonder Cadiz and many others.
Soteldo joins a pyrotechnic Toronto attack, which is led by reigning Landon Donovan MLS MVP Alejandro Pozuelo. Veteran USMNT forward Jozy Altidore, rising US/Canada youth international Ayo Akinola and CanMNT veteran Jonathan Osorio are also big pieces of the club's attacking core.
“We are excited for Yeferson to join the team and integrate himself within our environment. He is an exciting player and he will help our team. Very happy and grateful that our board supports this team in a way where we are able to find and acquire a player of his caliber,” said GM Ali Curtis. “Yeferson is a difference maker. We will wrap our arms around he and his family, such that Yeferson can enjoy his football, teammates, and the new environment.”
Listed at 5-foot-2, Soteldo's diminutive size and big talent has sparked memories of TFC's former MLS MVP Sebastian Giovinco, who is listed at just 5-foot-3. Giovinco was a superstar for Toronto, scoring 68 goals and adding 52 assists in 114 appearances.
“I am very excited to come to Toronto FC. It is one of the most important sports organizations in Canada and the United States,” said Soteldo. “It is an MLS Cup champion, has great players, and most importantly, they are always competing to win. They have amazing fans and facilities.”
Toronto are currently in the quarterfinals of the Concacaf Champions League, advancing past Liga MX's Club Leon despite dealing with nearly half their starting XI missing time due to injuries already. They have a draw and a loss after two MLS games as well.