January 20, 2012
Sources: Eckersley returning to Reds in '12
By Kurtis Larson, QMI Agency
TORONTO - Defender Richard Eckersley is in the final stages of making a permanent move to MLS, paving the way for his inclusion in TFC’s pre-season camp as early as next week.
Sources close to the situation confirmed to QMI Agency yesterday that minor contractual details are all that separate the former Burnley wing back from rejoining TFC ahead of the 2012 season.
After making 23 TFC appearances on loan from the English club last year, the recently revealed details follow months of speculation concerning the additions of Joao Plata and Eckersley after head coach Aron Winter confidently reassured supporters the club was working hard to lock up two of TFC’s better performers throughout the offseason.
Known for his pace and ability to join Toronto’s 4-3-3 attack in an instant, the hard-as-nails defender adds a wealth of experience to one of the league’s worst back lines from a year ago.
In a move that potentially provides needed cap relief, the Reds announced yesterday that defender Andy Iro and forward Peri Marosevic will not return this season.
“Both Andy and Peri declined our contract extension offers and now the club is ready to move on,” Winter said. “We met with both players at the conclusion of the season and presented them with fair offers that they have declined.”
Toronto opens 2012 at the Rogers Centre in the opening leg of the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals against the LA Galaxy on March 7.
It was announced Friday that the club has sold more than 35,000 tickets ahead of the pivotal match and that additional seating is being made available.