Defoe, Bradley excited for MLS Toronto challenge
Tottenham striker Jermain Defoe and AS Roma midfielder Michael Bradley were excited about their new challenge at Toronto FC as the Major League Soccer club unveiled its new stars Monday.
"It's a fantastic opportunity. I'm excited like a little kid," Defoe said.
"It's always a challenge when you go to a new club, play new competition. That's what I play football for and I'm going to enjoy it. I'm looking forward to it."
Defoe, who will be loaned back to the English Premier League's Spurs until the end of February, and US international Bradley will be charged with sparking a squad that has never managed a winning season or a playoff berth in its seven-season history.
"For this moment, I couldn't be in a better place," Bradley said.
"I've never been more excited and more motivated for any challenge in my career. What they are trying to build here is really special."
Defoe's transfer fee was reportedly $10.8 million to $14.4 million with Bradley's transfer fee at another $10 million.
"I'm looking forward to putting my boots on and scoring goals, showing people why I'm a good signing," Defoe said. "All you want to do is get out there and let your football do the talking."
Defoe, a 31-year-old Englishman, is not giving up on being part of his homeland's World Cup side by joining MLS, saying: "If selected, I'll be ready."
The move to Toronto should ensure abundant playing time for both, helping their World Cup preparation.
Add the signings of Canadian international Dwayne De Rosario and Brazilian striker Gilberto and Toronto FC could go from six wins and 11 draws in 34 matches last year to the team to beat in 2014.
"Why can't we be great?" asked club owners Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment chief executive Tim Leiweke.
"We didn't win anything today, but we created a great opportunity."
Leiweke was working for the owners of the Los Angeles Galaxy when English star midfielder David Beckham signed with the Galaxy in 2007 from Real Madrid, a move that helped lift the North American league's profile worldwide as well as with US and Canadian fans.
Beckham's star power ensured he would be a top attraction for international matches as well as in MLS games, but Defoe and Bradley are more aimed at raising the level of talent in MLS and showing the willingness to spend to do so.
"We had a number of goals that included building this club with a vision for contending for playoffs and championships while also being recognized and competitive internationally," Toronto FC general manager Tim Bezbatchenko said.
"Adding star players like Hermain and Michael will help us a great deal in reaching those goals."