Drafting from near and far

MIKE ULMER -- Special to Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:06 AM ET

There are three million people living in Toronto proper and the census boys say 1.2 million of those souls -- 41% -- were born outside of Canada. They call Toronto the 'City of Nations' and that's why it's the perfect venue for the world's game -- soccer.

Small wonder that more than 10,000 season tickets have been sold for the club's inaugural year at the new BMO Field.

And small wonder that Toronto FC's unveiling of prospects chosen at the MLS Super Draft brought together coach Mo Johnston, a Scot, and number one choice Maurice Edu (pictured), a Californian whose parents came to America from Nigeria.

The dais was crowded with people from far away who are now in the process of embracing a life here. And they came here for the same reason their parents did -- opportunity. "Toronto is a new franchise and I'm looking forward to building something new here," Edu says.

He's got a chance. The 20-year-old from Fontana, California, is finished his career at the University of Maryland where he distinguished himself as an NSCAA First Team All-American. He is a defensive midfielder with explosiveness -- a hard tackler with real ability in the air.

Soccer has been with him forever, despite ability in the more widely accepted avenues of football and basketball.

"Soccer was just what I did," Edu says. "My parents came from Nigeria and my dad got me into it.

"We would watch it on television. Because my dad was a coach, people would make tapes for us of overseas games and we would watch them together."

The other player drafted was University of New Mexico defender, Andrew Boyens. Boyens, a six-foot-four player who should step into the lineup, wasn't available. He was home ... in New Zealand.

NATIONS AND BACKGROUNDS REPRESENTED ON TORONTO FC

New Zealand

Canada

Jamaica

Nigeria

Armenia

Canada

United States

Togo

Italy

Brazil

Ireland

Poland

Wales

Scotland


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