Toronto FC announced Thursday that the club has resigned Canadian international defender Ashtone Morgan to a long term deal. As per team and league policies, terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“We're thrilled to sign Ashtone long term to ensure he remains with our club and continues to develop into a top defender in this league,” said Head Coach and Director of Soccer Operations Paul Mariner. “Ashtone represents the present and future of this club and he is an important player for us. He is also a product of our Academy program and the current youth players can look up to Ashtone as an example of what the potential future holds for them.”
Video: "I'm struggling to find a better left back in the league at the moment" - Mariner on Morgan following Dallas match on July 4, 2012.
Morgan, 21, is currently in his second season with Toronto FC. He signed with the First Team on March 17, 2011 and made his professional debut as a late substitute against Portland on March 26. To date, Morgan has played in 29 league matches, making 23 starts while registering five assists. The defender appeared in all twelve 2011-12 CONCACAF Champions League matches, starting in nine; from the preliminary round through to the semi-finals. This season, Morgan started in all four of Toronto’s matches in the 2012 Amway Canadian Championship, earning his second straight National title and the club’s fourth consecutive championship.
“I’m very happy to sign a new long term deal with the club,” said Morgan. “Being from Toronto and developing at the club has been a great experience and it’s a thrill to be able to continue with Toronto FC for the next few years.”
Morgan became the first graduate from the Toronto FC Academy program to earn a call-up to the Canadian National Team when he was called by Coach Stephen Hart ahead of 2014 World Cup qualifying matches last September. He earned his first cap for Canada, coming on as a substitute during a victory over Saint Lucia on October 7. Morgan then made his first start for Canada on November 15 against Saint Kitts and Nevis at BMO Field, which Canada won 4-0.
To cap off his first season as a professional player, Morgan was named the 2011 U-20 Canadian Player of the Year on December 13.