Hassli Returns For 2013

Toronto picked up the French forward's option for next season.

Photo: Hassli was targeted by defenders for special treatment in 2012 (Giamou/TorontoFC.ca)

TORONTO – Designated player Eric Hassli will return to Toronto FC next season after the club picked up the option on his contract for 2013.

The 31-year-old French striker was obtained in a trade with the Vancouver Whitecaps on July 20 after Danny Koevermans was lost for the season with a knee injury.

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Koevermans is not expected to return from knee surgery until April or May and Hassli will be able to fill in until then.

One of the concerns the club had was how Hassli and Koevermans might co-exist when the 34-year-old Dutch striker returns. Hassli said he would have no problem working with Koevermans and the club sees it that way too.

“We had some discussions about how Eric fit into the way we want to play when everyone is healthy,” director of team and player operations Earl Cochrane told Sportsnet.ca on Monday. “We had discussions about what our season is going to look like from start to finish, and we always landed at a situation where we thought Eric would be a big part of our success, and a big contributing part of our success. So we decided to keep him.”

Injuries limited Hassli to seven league games for Toronto in which he scored three goals.

He said he enjoys playing for head coach Paul Mariner and feels the former England international is the right man to turn around a team that finished 5-21-8 in 2012.