Toronto FC announced Monday that it has signed Italian international midfielder Sebastian Giovinco as a Designated Player. Giovinco will join Toronto FC at the conclusion of the Italian Serie A season. As per club and league policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“Today marks a very special day for Toronto FC with the addition of Sebastian Giovinco. Seba is in the prime of his career and he has chosen to join Toronto FC and MLS at a time when many of the top clubs in the world were pursuing him,” said Toronto FC General Manager Tim Bezbatchenko. “We are very pleased to bring a fantastic player to Toronto FC for our club and for our fans, especially those in the Italian community.”
Giovinco, 27, is currently in his sixth season at Juventus, where he has made a combined 130 appearances, scoring 20 goals with 23 assists across Italian Serie A, UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League, Coppa Italia, and Supercoppa Italiana play. With Juventus, Giovinco has won back-to-back Scudetto’s (Italian Serie A Champions) in 2012-13 and 2013-14, and back-to-back Supercoppa Italiana titles in 2012 and 2013.
“I am excited to sign with Toronto FC today and look forward to joining the club this summer,” said Sebastian Giovinco. “I have heard so many great things about Toronto over the years and I know that it will be a city that I feel right at home in. Until then, I have many things I still want to accomplish for Juventus and our fans. I will always give my heart and soul for Juve until I change shirts this summer.”
Giovinco began his career in the Juventus youth system where he was touted as a top prospect alongside midfielder Claudio Marchisio. In 2005-06, Giovinco was part of the club’s Campionato Primavera winning side. That same year the club reached the final of the Viareggio Tournament, one of the biggest youth football tournaments in the world. Giovinco made his professional debut for Juventus while the club was in Serie B on May 12, 2007 against Bologna; where he topped off his debut with an assist in a 3-1 win for Juventus. In July 2007, Giovinco was sent on loan to Italian side, Empoli F.C. (Empoli). With Empoli, he scored his first goal in Serie A on September 30, 2007 in a 3-1 victory over Palermo. At the conclusion of the season Empoli were relegated and Giovinco returned to Juventus, where he would remain for two more seasons (2008-09 and 2009-10).
He scored his first goal for Juventus on December 7, 2008 from a free kick against Lecce in a 2-1 victory. Giovinco was again sent on loan to Italian side, Parma F.C. (Parma) in August 2010. Parma held an option to purchase 50% of his contract at the end of the loan agreement. Giovinco’s impressive form for Parma saw him earn his first call to the Italian national team. After his first season at Parma, the club exercised the option to purchase half of his contract; he would remain at Parma for the 2011-12 season. That season Giovinco finished as the club’s leader in goals (15) and assists (11) in Serie A play. In two seasons at Parma, Giovinco made a combined 70 appearances, scoring 23 goals, and added 22 assists. In June 2012, Juventus purchased the 50% of Giovinco’s contract back from Parma, returning him to Turin for the 2012-13 season. In his first season back at Juventus, Giovinco played a key role in the club’s progression to the knock-out stages of the UEFA Champions League for the first time since 2008-09. Giovinco scored his first UEFA Champions League goal against FC Nordsjaelland during the group stage, which Juventus won 4-0.
“Late last year, MLSE made it clear that our commitment to TFC and the club’s fans would not waiver, in fact, our resolve was only strengthened to do whatever it takes to deliver a winner,” said Larry Tanenbaum, Chairman of the Board for MLSE. “The addition of Jozy Altidore last week and Sebastian Giovinco today, which lead the efforts by Tim Bezbatchenko to strengthen the roster, is a testament to that commitment. We look forward to a great season in an expanded and improved BMO Field and thank our fans for their continued support.”
“Sebastian Giovinco is a complete player with the ability to not only create but also to score goals as he’s proven throughout his career in Italy,” said Toronto FC Head Coach Greg Vanney. “We are very excited for the 2015 season and adding another important piece to an already solid core group only makes us stronger.”
"Adding a player like Sebastian Giovinco will be a major addition to our club," said Toronto FC midfielder Michael Bradley. "Having played against him many times in Italy, I know what he is capable of. We have added a great playmaker and true talent and I cannot wait for him to join us.
To date, Giovinco has earned 21 caps and has scored one goal for the Italian national team. He earned his first cap for Italy on February 9, 2011 in a friendly match against Germany. Giovinco was part of Italy’s second place finish at the UEFA Euro 2012 tournament. He scored his first international goal against Japan in the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup; where Italy went on to win the Bronze medal. In addition, Giovinco has represented Italy at every level since U-16. In 2008, Giovinco was named “Player of the Tournament” at the Toulon Tournament, where Italy defeated Chile in the finals. Giovinco also represented Italy at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China and at the 2009 U-21 European Championship.
“Today’s signing marks one of the most important moments in Toronto FC history, and as we look forward to the opening of an expanded and improved BMO Field in May, our supporters and partners have made clear this off-season that they are fully behind the vision of this club to be the class of MLS on the pitch and off,” said Dave Hopkinson, Chief Commercial Officer for MLSE.
“I am thrilled for Seba and equally as happy for Toronto FC and its fans,” said Andrea D’Amico, Giovinco’s representative. “This truly feels like a match that was meant to be and I would like to thank everyone at MLSE that made today possible including the owners, Tim Leiweke and Tim Bezbatchenko. We look forward to an exciting summer and much success for the club.”
Weight: 130 lbs
Birthdate: January 26, 1987
Birth Place: Turin, Italy
Hometown: Turin, Italy
Last Club: Juventus
How Acquired: Signed with Toronto FC on Monday, January 19, 2015
Pronunciation: “Se-bas-ti-an Joe-vin-ko”