Maurice Edu wants it known that he doesn't need a babysitter -- on or off the soccer pitch -- in his rookie season with Toronto FC.
The No. 1 pick in the 2007 Major League Soccer amateur draft said he is a good student and will watch and listen intently to team veterans as he prepares for his first professional season.
Toronto coach Mo Johnston said he signed Welsh midfielder Carl Robinson earlier this week with the thought that the 30-year-old, with 35 international caps, would be a perfect tutor for the 20-year-old Edu.
Edu said he already has been the object of playful taunts from his new teammates over the attention being paid to him.
"Yeah, some of the guys have been getting on me about being a rookie and all," Edu said. "But I can stand up for myself and I know it's all in good fun."
The University of Maryland senior, however, will have to wait a few weeks to get in some contact drills after it was discovered he had a slight stress fracture of the pelvis.
"I want to get comfortable with the guys," Edu said.
"Because I think that good chemistry off the field will lead to good chemistry and success on the field."
It is obvious Toronto has high hopes for the Fontana, Calif., native as Johnston said Edu fits the description of a building block around which he can construct a competitive side.
And if this puts pressure on the youngster, he isn't showing the strain.
"I'm looking forward to the pressure of being the rookie," Edu said. "It's the same way I felt as a freshman in college."
Edu was just 17 when he moved across the continent to play in Maryland after rejecting overtures from UCLA, California and Santa Clara to play in his home state.
That prepared him to be on his own, away from his parents Molly and Maurice Edu Sr., who are back in California with their three other children.
"I have been living on my own in for three years," Edu said. "I think I can handle living on my own in Toronto."