Toronto FC Signs Julian de Guzman
Toronto FC announced Friday that Canadian international Julian de Guzman has signed with the club as the team's first ever designated player. The designated player rule was implemented prior to the 2007 MLS season granting each team the ability to sign a player whose salary, above a capped amount, will fall outside of the team salary budget. The cost above the salary budget is the financial responsibility of the club. As per team policy, financial terms of the deal were not released
"This is an exciting day for Toronto FC fans," said director of soccer Mo Johnston. "This deal to bring Julian back home was a long time coming, and we are absolutely delighted that we got it done and he's back playing in his hometown. For me, he is a tremendous young talent; he ticks all the boxes in what we were looking for in a DP and will help our team straight away."
De Guzman, 28, joins Toronto FC after spending the last nine seasons in Europe playing for clubs in France, Germany, and Spain. The midfielder signed for his most recent club Deportivo de La Coruna in 2005. Signing that deal was a historic moment as be became the first Canadian to play for a club in La Liga (Spain's first division).In his penultimate season in Spain (2007-2008), de Guzman was named Deportivo's player of the year. Also that season, de Guzman helped guide the team to safety avoiding relegation and they gained a valuable spot in the UEFA Cup.
Prior to joining La Liga de Guzman signed for Hannover 96 of the German First Bundesliga in 2002 where he became only the third Canadian to play in that league.
A native of Scarborough, Ontario de Guzman was discovered by French club Olympique Marseille while playing for North Scarborough youth soccer club in Toronto. He joined the Reserve side and went on to become a first team regular with FC Saarbrucken in the German Second Bundesliga in the 2001-02 season.
Internationally, de Guzman has 40 caps with the Canadian National team after making his debut January 26, 2002 against Martinique (1-1) at the age of 20. He has played at the U-20 level competing in the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Argentina, and has been a member of three CONCACAF Gold Cup squads (2002, 2007 and 2009). Most recently he was named tournament MVP in the 2007 edition of the Gold Cup. De Guzman has also represented his country in World Cup and Olympic Qualification tournaments.
Currently there are seven Designated Players in MLS. David Beckham (L.A. Galaxy), Cuauhtemoc Blanco (Chicago), Juan Pablo Angel (New York Red Bulls), Guillermo Barros Schelotto (Columbus), Freddie Ljungberg (Seattle), Luciano Emilio (D.C.), and Luis Angel Landin (Houston).
De Guzman will be available for selection in Saturday's match against the Colorado Rapids at 4 p.m. ET at BMO Field pending approval of his International Transfer Certificate.
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