December 1, 2006 Toronto FC signs goalkeeper Greg Sutton (from MLSnet.com Staff)
Toronto FC add Canada 'keeper
By Jason Halpin / MLSnet.com Staff
The Toronto FC defense got significantly stronger - and taller - Friday as the club announced the long-rumored signing of Canadian national team goalkeeper Greg Sutton.
The 6-foot-6 shot-stopper comes to the MLS expansion club from United Soccer Leagues First Division side Montreal Impact. MLS paid a transfer fee to acquire Sutton, though per MLS policy, neither the fee nor the particulars of Sutton's contract have been disclosed.
"It's exciting for me to come back to MLS," he said. "I think now I'm at a point where I'm ready to take on the challenge of this new franchise."
For the past four seasons, Sutton has been selected as the USL First Division/A-League goalkeeper of the year. He also was named the league MVP in 2004 and won the league title that same year.
Put simply, there wasn't much more for Sutton to do at that level.
"It came to a point where I think I accomplished what I wanted to accomplish and I felt that I needed to challenge myself more, and that's what we're going to get playing in this league," Sutton said. "The forwards and attacking players are better and faster, so it's going to bring about new challenges for myself."
A native of Montreal, Sutton is embarking on his second stint in MLS. He was selected by the Chicago Fire in the second round of the 1999 MLS College Draft and played in three games for the Fire that year and two the following season.
Sutton was also listed on the roster of the then-MetroStars in 2000 and the Dallas Burn in 2002, but did not see playing time for either club.
Sutton's time in goal for the Fire was anything but stellar, as he allowed 12 goals in his five appearances. That was his first taste of professional soccer, though. Since then, he's been able to build an impressive resume, including eight caps for Canada.
"When you're a goaltender, it's vital that you have game experience," Sutton said. "When I was with Chicago and New York, I really didn't have much game experience, and I had periods where I struggled, and that had a lot to do with it. Over the last five, six years being in Montreal, playing game-in and game-out gave me that opportunity to gain that experience.
"It's been a good five years, and now I feel I'm more than ready to take on the opportunity of Major League Soccer."
Sutton is the fifth Canadian international to be added to the Toronto FC roster. He joins defenders Adam Braz, Chris Pozniak and Marco Reda and midfielder Jim Brennan.
Sutton said he's looking forward to the day Toronto's concentration of Canadian players has the same effect on his national team as MLS has had on the U.S. side.
"I think it's going to be a good feeder system when kids growing up now are going to have a team to aspire and dream to play with one day," he said. "Hopefully we can add a couple more teams here in Canada."
Jason Halpin is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.
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