Toronto FC choose Griffin Dorsey with their first pick in MLS SuperDraft
|Toronto Star 11 Jan 2019 at 17:19|
Griffin Dorsey was not all that surprised when he was selected sixth overall by Toronto FC at the MLS SuperDraft in Chicago on Friday afternoon.
The 19-year-old midfielder out of Indiana University had interviewed with the club before the second game of this week’s combine. The meeting, he thought, went well. He felt an immediate connection to the club.
With their first pick in the MLS SuperDraft, the Reds chose 19-year-old midfielder Griffin Dorsey, out of Indiana University. (Jamie Schwaberow / GETTY IMAGES)
“I think they were interested and I thought I showed pretty well at the combine and they put their trust in me and I’m excited to get started,” Dorsey said.
Dorsey was one of seven Generation Adidas signings heading into the draft, a deal that will add him to Toronto’s roster but not count against the team’s salary budget. He was the third such player selected Friday after No. 1 pick Frankie Amaya, who went to expansion club F.C. Cincinnati, and No. 2 pick Siad Haji, now a member of the San Jose Earthquakes.
The Reds’ newest player becomes the 26th name on Toronto’s roster. The Reds also selected winger Adam Wilson, 21, a native of Scotland, from the University of Louisville who wasn’t at the combine.
Reds general manager Ali Curtis said he feels both players have the right personalities to fit in well with Toronto.
“Hardworking, humble but confident, we think they can be some really nice additions to our organization,” he said.
Dorsey described himself as a speedy player who likes to “get around the outside and get crosses in the box.” He offers TFC versatility thanks to his ability to play on the left or right, as well as outside back or forward.
Dorsey used a quote from Herb Brooks, coach of the 1980 United States men’s Olympic hockey team who orchestrated the Miracle on Ice over four-time defending gold medallists Soviet Union, in a speech to the crowd assembled in Chicago: “Great moments are born from great opportunity.”
“This quote describes today, I can’t wait to create great moments,” Dorsey said on the league’s broadcast of the event.
He also thanked his parents and siblings, girlfriend and members of Indiana’s men’s soccer program. Then came a special shoutout to eight-year-old Caleb Anderson, a young Hoosiers fan suffering from a host of illnesses who became the team’s good luck charm this season.
While Dorsey wasn’t surprised to be selected by the Canadian team, there were some surprises in store for the Canadian prospects eligible for the draft.
Callum Montgomery, a defender from Victoria, B.C., was the first Canadian selected, picked by F.C. Dallas at No.4.
Many expected Toronto native Tajon Buchanan, a product of local academy Sigma F.C., to take the top spot among the six eligible Canadian players; he was projected by some to be the first Canadian No.1 pick since fellow Sigma graduate Cyle Larin.
But Buchanan dropped to No. 9, selected by the New England Revolution, below Montgomery and fellow Generation Adidas classman Dayne St. Clair, a goalkeeper from Pickering, Ont., drafted by Minnesota United F.C. with the seventh pick.
St. Clair’s longtime friend and fellow Vaughan Soccer Club alum Kamal Miller went to Orlando City SC early in the second round, with the 27th overall selection.
Both St. Clair and Buchanan were available when Toronto made its first selection, but Curtis said while the organization is sensitive to Canadian players, it was important to find the right players to fit the club, regardless of nationality.
“Ultimately we invest a lot into our homegrown player program and our youth development platform, and that’s going to be very important.”
Dorsey joins a couple of Indiana alums, defenders Drew Moor and Eriq Zavaleta, in the TFC dressing room and will reunite with a familiar face in forward Ayo Akinola, with whom he has played in the U.S. national team’s youth program.
Having never been to Canada, those connections could be important to Dorsey, who is less concerned about Toronto’s winter weather than your average Reds draft pick.
“I’m from Colorado,” he said. “I can get used to the cold.”