Richard Eckesley

Eckersley Eager For Game Action

Richard Eckersley joined Toronto FC in 2011 while the Reds were already underway in a season fraught with early uncertainties. The 2012 edition of the club is much closer to what was envisioned by head coach Aron Winter, but this time 22-year old Eckersley is in the plans from the start.

“It's good for me personally ... to get a good preseason under my belt,” Eckersley told GOL TV Canada on Thursday, only 13 days after news of his permanent move to BMO Field was made official. Last season he was on-loan from Burnley in England.

Even though Eckersley is the first choice right fullback for Toronto, the defender warns that complacency won’t be tolerated this season, because hungry players lurk at just about every position, poised to compete for the privilege of wearing first team Red.

Video: Richard Eckersley | Winter | de Guzman | Maund

“There (are) different competitions all over the field, and it makes us all better players because obviously we are challenging for each position.”

“It's only going to help the team and push us forward in the league.”

Toronto will travel to Florida next Monday for the 2012 Walt Disney Pro Soccer Classic. There the Reds will face local USL side Orlando City, BK Hacken from Sweden and 2011/12 Champions League rival FC Dallas. Eckersley insists these games will whet the appetite for the CCL, MLS & Canadian Championship matches ahead.

“Everyone's itching to play games now, we are just waiting for the 90 minutes, building up really, and get ready for the start of season.”

“It's going to be exciting times.”

Aron Winter & Paul Mariner

Head coach and technical director Aron Winter will join director of player development Paul Mariner as guests on The Soccer Show at Sportsnet 590 The Fan (Thursday, 8 p.m. ET). Winter said he will be taking 32-34 players to Orlando next Monday, meaning there will be cuts made to the 38-player preseason squad.

Recovering Rapidly

Toronto center backs Adrian Cann & Dicoy Williams continued to train separately from the first team. Cann - seen here on our YouTube channel - practiced some basic passing drills, while both players, along with Jeremy Hall who is suffering from a slight knock, took part in flexibility drills before attempting a series of short sprints. No additional discomfot was reported by Cann, Williams (both recovering from ACL tears) or Hall.

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