Toronto FC officials are warning young soccer players and their parents to be aware of Internet scammers seeking to profit from the team's growing popularity.
According to the TFC's front office, an unknown group of individuals are passing themselves off as professional soccer scouts with ties to the Major League Soccer team.
These fraudsters apparently are promising young players a chance to tryout with TFC or with the team's developmental TFC Academy.
In exchange, they are asking for a fee or a deposit from the players or their families for the service.
"Please be aware Toronto FC agents or scouts will never solicit money or fees from prospective players," the team said in a statement released yesterday.
Meanwhile TFC's most promising young player --17-year old Abdus (Ibee) Ibrahim -- has been named to the U.S. under-20 national team.
Ibrahim will spend the entire off-season with the young nationals with the hope that it will better prepare him for his second TFC season in the spring.
"I'm going to be with the u-20s for most of the winter so I'm going to be playing most of the off-season and will be ready to play here for Toronto next season," Ibrahim said yesterday. "It's good for me to keep playing. I'm young and I don't need much of a break."
Ibrahim scored a pair of goals this past MLS season -- once against Chicago Fire and a second against New York Red Bulls -- while being used mainly as a substitute by coach John Carver.
"Scoring that goal in Chicago was definitely my best moment of the season," he said. "It was a dream moment for me because all of my family was there and I never thought that it would happen so early in my first game."
Ibrahim credits TFC veteran striker Danny Dichio with upping the level of his game.
"I have learnt a lot off everyone (on the team) but especially Danny," he said. "He plays in my position so he will pull me to one side and give me advice about my positioning."
Ibrahim will travel to Spain next week with the u-20s after being included in the 18-man roster named by head coach Thomas Rongen.