Toronto FC announced Friday that it has signed Brazilian striker Gilberto Oliveira Souza Junior (Gilberto) as a designated player. He will be added to the roster upon receipt of his International Transfer Certificate (ITC) and Visa.
“Gilberto is a great DP addition to our roster. He’s young, incredibly talented and a proven goal scorer at every level he’s played,” said Toronto FC General Manager Tim Bezbatchenko. “The Brazilian Serie A is one of the best leagues in the world and acquiring a top striker from that league is a testament to the faith Gilberto has in what we are doing at our Club.”
“We promised our fans back in September that this Club would make bold moves this offseason and that they should evaluate our progress in January. We feel that this is a key step and we will continue to work towards delivering on that promise over the next month.”
Gilberto, 24, most recently was on loan to Brazilian Série A club, Associação Portuguesa de Desportos (Portuguesa) from Sporting Club Internacional (Internacional), also of the Brazilian Série A. At Portuguesa, Gilberto made 24 appearances and scored 14 goals.
“I am very excited to join Toronto FC and MLS. There is a lot of opportunity here, both with this side and the league and I am excited to help grow Major League Soccer with my fellow Brazilians back home,” said Gilberto. “This is a great city with a great quality of life and I look forward to winning titles here.”
Gilberto signed his first professional contract with Brazilian club, Santa Cruz Futebol Clube (Santa Cruz) in 2009, after two years in the youth program. In two seasons, he made 21 appearances and scored 12 goals. Gilberto moved to Internacional in 2011, over the course of three seasons he went on two separate loans to Brazilian clubs, Sport Club do Recife (Sporting Recife) during the 2012 season, and Portuguesa in 2013. At Sporting Recife, he made 25 appearances, scoring seven goals. In four seasons in the Brazilian Série A, he made a combined 109 appearances, scoring 38 goals and added 10 assists.
“Gilberto is a powerful striker with a great deal of speed and the ability to score all kinds of goals,” said Toronto FC Head Coach Ryan Nelsen. “He has a great work ethic along with a winning attitude and will be a welcomed addition to our Club.”
Gilberto won the Campeonato Pernambucano with Santa Cruz in 2011. He was part of Internacional’s Campeonato Gaúcho winning sides in 2012 and 2013, as well as the 2011 Recopa Sudamericana winner.
GILBERTO # 9
Weight: 154 lbs.
Birthdate: June 5, 1989
Birth Place: Piranhas, Brazil
Hometown: Piranhas, Brazil
Last Club: Associação Portuguesa de Desportos on loan from Sport Club Internacional
How Acquired: Signed with Toronto FC on Friday, December 13, 2013