Toronto FC announced Friday that the club has acquired Canadian international midfielder Will Johnson from the Portland Timbers in exchange for a conditional second round pick in the 2017 MLS SuperDraft and targeted allocation money. As per club and league policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“We are pleased to add another Canadian international and veteran player with MLS experience that has won two MLS Cups with two different clubs in his career,” said Toronto FC General Manager Tim Bezbatchenko. “The addition of Will Johnson will help strengthen our goal of developing a winning culture and spirit here at Toronto FC. He represents another significant piece as we continue to build a championship caliber club.”
Johnson, 28, joins Toronto FC after most recently playing for the past three seasons with the Portland Timbers where he made a combined 74 appearances, registering 17 goals and eight assists across MLS league play and MLS Cup Playoffs. He was acquired by the Timbers on December 3, 2012 following a trade with Real Salt Lake. Johnson was part of the Timbers squad that recently captured their first ever MLS Cup Championship after defeating Columbus Crew SC by a 2-1 score on December 6. In addition to his time with the Timbers, Johnson was named an MLS All-Star in both 2013 and 2014, won the Western Conference title (’15) and the Western Conference regular season title (’13).
“I’m excited to return to my hometown of Toronto and play in front of one of the best fan bases in MLS,” said Toronto FC midfielder Will Johnson. “I look forward to this new challenge and cannot wait to meet my new teammates.”
Johnson began his youth career with the Blackburn Rovers youth squad in 2003. Upon his return to North America, he signed his first professional contract with the Chicago Fire ahead of the 2005 MLS season. He made six appearances in his rookie season and scored one goal. Johnson then moved to Dutch Eredivisie (first division) side, SC Heerenveen prior to the 2006-07 season. In his first season, he made 14 appearances. He was later loaned to De Graafschap also of the Dutch Eredivisie for the 2007-08 season, where he made 39 appearances and scored three goals for the club. After two years in Holland, Johnson returned to MLS and signed with Real Salt Lake (RSL) after RSL acquired his rights through a trade with Chicago on August 22, 2008. Johnson spent five seasons with RSL, making a combined 144 appearances with 12 goals and 10 assists in MLS league play, MLS Cup Playoffs and CONCACAF Champions League. Johnson was part of RSL’s 2009 MLS Cup winning side along with RSL’s run to the finals of the 2010-11 CONCACAF Champions League against Monterrey (Mexico) where RSL fell 3-2 on aggregate. Johnson also won the 2008 MLS Goal of the Year, was named to the 2009 MLS All-Star game and was part of the 2009 Eastern Conference Championship side while with RSL. Johnson was later traded to Portland on December 3, 2012. In 9 seasons in MLS, Johnson has made 208 combined appearances, scoring 27 goals and 16 assists in MLS league play and the MLS Cup Playoffs.
Johnson has earned 38 caps and scored 4 goals for the Canadian National team. He earned his first senior team cap in a friendly match against Luxembourg on November 16, 2005. He scored his first goal on September 3, 2011 in a 2014 FIFA World Cup qualification match against Saint Lucia. Johnson’s most recent caps for Canada came last month during 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification matches on November 14 where he scored the lone goal in a 1-0 victory over Honduras and on November 18 in El Salvador in a 0-0 draw. In addition, Johnson has represented Canada at three CONCACAF Gold Cups (2009, 2011, 2013).