England striker Jermain Defoe has swapped Tottenham for Toronto, but in England little is known about the Major League Soccer franchise.
Move to America: The club joined the MLS in 2007 when the league expanded, becoming its first Canadian team and Defoe has reportedly signed a deal that will net him £90,000 a week, making him the league’s highest earner. Defoe was unveiled alongside US superstar Michael Bradley, who has certainly done the rounds in European football, having enjoyed spells at Borussia Monchengladbach, Chievo, Roma, and a loan stint at Aston Villa. At least in American circles, Bradley will rival Defoe as the club’s superstar new year signing after Roma netted $10 million from his departure.
Manager: The Reds are managed by former Premier League defender and Defoe’s former Spurs team-mate Ryan Nelsen. The 36-year-old retired last year after a spell with QPR and is enjoying his first spell as a manager. Wales international Rob Earnshaw was one of Nelsen’s first signings, though he has since become a free agent.
Friendly Faces: Premier League fans keeping an eye on Defoe’s progress will see also see a familiar face in Julio Cesar, who was relegated with QPR last season (and also won Serie A with Inter Milan). The R’s stopper is on loan in Ontario having fallen out of love with the Championship, and if rumours are to be believed, with Harry Redknapp. Other familiar faces who have worn the Toronto red include Laurent Robert, Maurice Edu, Torsten Frings and Rohan Rickets, whose time at Tottenham just coincided with Defoe’s arrival.
Derby Day: Defoe will go from competing in the North London Derby to facing off against Montreal Impact in Toronto’s biggest grudge match. The feud dates back to when the two sides were both regularly competing for the title in Canada, and the two cities have a fierce ice hockey rivalry, adding further fuel to the fire.
Stadium: Toronto ply their trade at the BMO Field stadium, which opened in 2007 alongside the club’s merge with their US counterparts. With a capacity of just under 22,000 – just slightly larger than Swansea City’s Liberty Stadium – it hosted the 2010 MLS Cup between FC Dallas and Colorado Rapids.
England manager Roy Hodgson has insisted the move away will not have a negative effect on Defoe's World Cup chances, but having spent the majority of the season on the bench, he is unlikely to shift Wayne Rooney or Daniel Sturridge out of the starting line-up.
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