Toronto FC Signs Michael Bradley

Toronto FC announced Monday that it has reached a transfer agreement with Italian Serie A club AS Roma and has signed American international midfielder Michael Bradley as a Designated Player. Bradley will join Toronto FC immediately and he was introduced to media and club supporters Monday alongside English international forward Jermain Defoe, marking a historic day for the club.

At the same time the two clubs announced a long-term partnership that will see AS Roma play two friendlies at BMO Field over the next six years and includes a player development program for Toronto FC players at Roma’s training facility.  

“To acquire a star midfielder like Michael Bradley, seen by many as the top American player in the world, alongside a premier striker in Jermain Defoe, makes this a groundbreaking day for Toronto FC and for Major League Soccer,” said Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment President and CEO Tim Leiweke. “We have worked hard this off-season to deliver a winning team to our fans and I would like to thank AS Roma and MLSE ownership for their commitment and support. This is an exciting day for Toronto FC fans and we can’t wait to start the season.”

Toronto FC announced Friday that it had reached a transfer agreement with English Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur F.C. and had signed Defoe as a Designated Player. Defoe will remain at Tottenham until February 28 before joining Toronto FC ahead of the start of the 2014 season.  

Bradley, 26, joins Toronto FC from AS Roma (Roma). This season, Bradley made 11 appearances and scored one goal for Roma. Bradley began his youth career with the United States U-17 Team Residency Program in Bradenton, Florida where he spent four semesters (2002-04). Bradley turned pro at the age of 16 and was selected thirty-sixth overall in the 2004 MLS SuperDraft by the MetroStars. He spent one season in MLS, making 30 appearances and scoring one goal. Bradley was sold to Dutch Eredivisie club SC Heerenveen in January, 2006. He made over 50 appearances during his time at SC Heerenveen, including scoring 21 combined goals in his final season before signing for German Bundesliga club, Borussia Mönchengladbach in January, 2008. 

Bradley spent three seasons with the German club, where he made 76 combined appearances and scored ten goals. He went on a brief loan spell to Aston Villa in January, 2011, where he made three appearances. Bradley signed with Italian Serie A club, A.C. Chievo Verona (Chievo) in August, 2011,
and went on to make 35 appearances for the club, scoring one goal. He joined Roma from Chievo in July, 2012.

“This certainly goes down as a tremendous day in Toronto FC history and goes a long way towards delivering on our promise to our fans of building them a winning club,” said Toronto FC General Manager Tim Bezbatchenko. “We had a number of goals heading into this season that included building this club with both a short and long-term vision for contending for playoffs and championships, while also being recognized and competitive internationally. Adding star players like Jermain and Michael, and partnerships with world-class clubs like Tottenham Hotspur and AS Roma, will help us a great deal in reaching those goals.”

Bradley has earned 81 caps for the United States National team and has scored 11 goals for his country. He made his debut for the U.S. on May 26, 2006 as a substitute in a friendly match against Venezuela. He scored his first international goal, which was the game winner in a 1-0 victory over Switzerland on October 17, 2007. Bradley has represented the U.S. at two CONCACAF Gold Cup tournaments, winning a Gold Medal in 2007 and finishing as runners-up in 2011. Bradley also played in the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup, where the U.S. finished as runners-up to Brazil, and the 2010 FIFA World Cup where he scored a goal in a 2-2 draw against Slovenia. His last appearance for the U.S. National team came during a friendly against Austria on November 19, 2013.

Position: Midfielder
Height: 6’2
Weight:  175 lbs.
Birthdate: July 31, 1987
Birth Place: Princeton, New Jersey
Hometown: Princeton, New Jersey
Nationality: American
Last Club: AS Roma
How Acquired: Transferred & signed for Toronto FC on Monday, January 13, 2014
Pronunciation: “Brad-lee”