TORONTO – Of the four players selected by Toronto FC in the 2018 MLS SuperDraft, one was introduced to the public before the side headed to Los Angeles to begin their preseason training camp: Tim Kubel.
The 24-year old right-back was selected in the second round, 28th overall, from the University of Louisville where he played 82 matches in four years, scoring 21 goals and registering 26 assists.
“It's a great honour,” said Kubel at the BMO Training Ground. “I was happy I got selected by Toronto. I knew they were interested. They're the current MLS Cup Champions, so it's a great honour to be a part of this great club.”
“I didn't have the best combine,” admitted Kubel with a Teutonic earnesty. “It's nice to know where I can finally start. There is uncertainty after the combine, even after the regular season in college. I'm really happy that I could to finally tell myself, Toronto, there you go. I'm happy to be here.”
A native of Stuttgart, Germany, Kubel described himself as, “a high energy player, high intensity.”
“I love high pressing,” added Kubel. “As long as my legs can take me I'm running.”
With four years of college soccer under his belt, Kubel also brings his experience in the youth systems of a pair of German clubs, Borussia Dortmund and FC Schalke 04, to training camp, something TFC head coach Greg Vanney said will serve him well in making the jump from Louisville to MLS.
“I moved away from my hometown when I was 15-and-a-half to play for Dortmund's academy, one of the best academies in Germany,” explained Kubel. “It was a great honour to play for them.”
“I came as striker, but then there not much growth – I was 5'9”, locked in – so they told me, 'Striker? You're a little too small,' so I moved out to right-winger,” smiled Kubel. “I played there, then, fortunately for me, our right-back got injured. The first team coach, Jurgen Klopp saw me [at right-back], told me that's my future position. I was locked in there when I was 18.”
“I really enjoyed [my time in Dortmund],” said Kubel. “They were a high press team, high intensity soccer. I just loved playing there. Ultimately I came to America because I knew I wanted to travel, see something before I have a wife and kids; America seemed to be the perfect option for that. Got my degree the last four years, I'm so happy to finally be here.”
A Finance Major, education was the primary goal during his collegiate career.
“My main focus the last four years was education. I made that clear,” stressed Kubel. “I got two [Generation Adidas] offers the last four years and declined them because I really wanted to get this education. I'm happy it all worked out that way and I'm finally in Toronto.”
Vanney said that Toronto were keeping a keen eye on Kubel all that time and had he taken up one of those GA offers, TFC would have snapped him up then.
Kubel already seems to have put his finger on the ethos that has come to define TFC.
“I had meetings with the coaches from Toronto and the GM, [Tim Bezbatchenko],” relayed Kubel. “I told them that when I watch Toronto I [see] a team that acts and doesn't react. They want to reinforce their game plan, put teams under pressure.”
“That's exactly what I did in Dortmund; the philosophy of the club, of German soccer in general: high press; very technical,” said Kubel. “It's a perfect fit here.”