Gale Agbossoumonde is coming in from the wilderness.
After three years split between five clubs, mostly on loan, scattered between the United States and Europe, the 21-year-old defender has finally found a home in MLS with Toronto FC. The Reds acquired the US youth international via weighted lottery on Thursday, beating out the likes of Dallas, Houston, Seattle, LA and San Jose for his services.
Toronto (57.3 percent) and Dallas (25.9 percent) had the best shot at the promising young center back, who was entered into the lottery process as a draft-eligible player to whom an MLS contract had been offered in the past but opted not to sign ahead of the SuperDraft. Agbossoumonde spent 2012 on loan with the NASL's Carolina RailHawks, appearing 17 times and scoring one goal, and has also spent time with Miami FC, Sporting Braga, Djurgården and Eintracht Frankfurt since turning pro in 2009.
“We’re thrilled to have Gale Agbossoumonde join Toronto FC,” president and general manager Kevin Payne said. “He’s a young and immensely talented center back with solid international experience at the U-17 and U-20 level for the United States, and we hope he will be a member of our team for years to come.”
He joins a TFC side that has been busy bolstering their options in central defense – veteran Danny Califf arrived via Stage 2 of the Re-Entry Draft – after allowing a league-worst 62 goals last season. Ireland international Darren O'Dea also signed with the club in early August, as head coach Paul Mariner looked for solutions to the club's defensive struggles.
Agbossoumonde was a much-hyped center back prospect after impressing with the US U-17s and joining the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. He then established himself as a a first-choice defender with the U-20s, starting every game at the 2009 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Egypt despite being just 17 years old. His lone cap with the senior team came in a match against South Africa in in November 2010.