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Toronto FC provides expertise to backline by signing free agent Shane O’Neill

Toronto FC added some expertise to its much-maligned defence Wednesday by signing free-agent defender Shane O’Neill on a deal that runs by 2024.

The 28-year-old spent the final two seasons with the Seattle Sounders, making a mixed 56 appearances in all competitions together with 27 MLS video games this yr.

“Shane is an skilled central defender with a wonderful staff mentality,” Bob Bradley, Toronto head coach and sporting director, mentioned in an announcement. “I’ve nice respect for his competitiveness and work ethic. He has continued to enhance all through his profession, and we’re excited to convey him to TFC.”

Born in Eire and raised in Colorado, O’Neill entered Main League Soccer in 2012 after signing with the Colorado Rapids as a homegrown participant.

He left MLS in 2015 to affix Cyprus’ Apollon Limassol earlier than going out on mortgage to Belgium’s Royal Excel Mouscron, England’s Cambridge United and NAC Breda of the Netherlands. He transferred to SBV Excelsior, one other Dutch aspect, for the 2017-2018 season earlier than returning to MLS in 2018 for 2 seasons with Orlando Metropolis.

“I’m so excited by this chance to compete for one of many high golf equipment in North America,” mentioned O’Neill. “The multi-cultural facet of this metropolis and its followers can be superb to get to know and characterize. I can not wait to throw every thing we’ve as a staff into profitable and competing for championships.”

A former U.S. youth worldwide, O’Neill was a part of the American staff on the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup. He was known as up by the U.S. senior squad in January 2015 however didn’t earn a cap.

The six-foot-two 190-pounder is the son of former star Gaelic footballer Colm O’Neill, who opened a pub in Boulder, Colo., when the household emigrated to the U.S.

O’Neill joins Toronto on the identical day that former TFC defender Omar Gonzalez signed with the New England Revolution. The 33-year-old Gonzalez signed a two-year contract with the Revs.

Gonzalez made US$1.06 million final season with Toronto. O’Neill was paid US$115,000.

Toronto opted to not train the contract choices on Gonzalez and fellow defenders Eriq Zavaleta and Rocco Romeo. Julian Dunn, out of contract on the finish of the yr, introduced his departure to Norway’s HamKam whereas fullback Justin Morrow has retired.

Gonzalez and French-born Congo DR worldwide Chris Mavinga have been Toronto’s first-choice centre again pairing.

Toronto (6-18-10) conceded a franchise-worst 66 objectives final season. At instances, Toronto needed to deploy captain Michael Bradley within the backline.

TFC additionally has Mavinga and fellow defenders Richie Laryea, Luke Singh, Kemar Lawrence, and Brazil’s Auro Jr. beneath contract.

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