December 6, 2006 Toronto FC press conference introducing goaltender Greg Sutton (from

12/06/2006 11:53AM
Sutton excited about move to Toronto
By Mike Ulmer /

Greg Sutton breezed inside the conference room at Toronto's swank Harbour Castle on Friday. "Surprise," he said.

And so ended a particularly poorly-kept secret, the signing of the veteran Canadian goalkeeper by Toronto FC off the roster of the United Soccer Leagues' Montreal Impact.

The shocking thing would have been if Sutton hadn't signed with the fledgling Major League Soccer club, such was his standing inside Canadian soccer circles.

From Day One, Toronto FC head coach Mo Johnston has stressed the importance of Canadian content in assembling the roster.

"I was born just down the road," said Sutton, a native of Hamilton, Ont., just an hour away. "This is a homecoming for me."

The six-foot-six Sutton is a past MVP of the United Soccer Leagues and defensive player of the year. He was an all-star for four straight years with the Impact and banked 67 shutouts in 132 games.

Sutton was invited unto the national team in 2004 and played all three games for Canada at the 2005 CONCACAF Gold Cup.

At 29, he is just into the delayed prime of the goalkeeper position.

"As a goaltender you have to study the game and really be a student, watching the plays develop and getting good timing," Sutton said. "You see goaltenders playing until they are 38. They come into their prime late because they have studying to do."

Sutton endured a rocky introduction into the pro ranks. He went 1-10-2 with Cincinnati of the USL in 2000 and allowed more than two goals a game.

"Cincinnati was a franchise in disarray," he said. "I didn't really have any defenders of any quality. Hey, as a goaltender trying to gain experience, those are great teams to play for."

Johnston saw Sutton that same season when he played briefly for the Chicago Fire.

"Greg was young. It wasn't a happy experience but he came through with flying colors," Johnston said. "He's an international goaltender now. When you're 22 years old and you're a goaltender, it's tough."

The bad times were followed by ample good. Now Sutton gets to climb another rung and prove that the goalkeeper who was so dominant in Montreal can turn the trick under the brighter lights of Toronto FC. The club starts its inaugural season in April.

"The opportunity and the challenge are going to be great for us," Sutton said. "We're going to take it full bore and be competitive right off the bat."

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