Toronto FC says injury-plagued French defender Clement Simonin simply ran out of time with the club.
The ninth overall pick in the 2015 MLS SuperDraft, Simonin made just two starts for Toronto in two years due to a succession of injuries, mostly to his knee. Restored to health, he came to training camp as a trialist this season and was released Tuesday.
The injuries prevented Simonin from developing as a defender, said Toronto coach Greg Vanney.
“But he always had the X factor that we all wanted to really come around â€” and that’s his passing, comfort level on the ball, ability to start an attack from that position,” he said Wednesday.
Simonin’s international status did not help his cause. Vanney said TFC 2 was not an option because the club and player decided the 25-year-old needed to move on to further his career.
Vanney also confirmed that striker Ben Spencer has made the first team squad. The 21-year-old has seen action with Toronto FC 2 in the past but has been hampered by injuries since joining the club on loan in 2015.
Now healthy, the six-foot-five forward is seen as an intriguing option off the bench.
Finnish trialist Johan Bruneel, a defender, and third-round draft pick Oyvind Alseth, a Norwegian defender-midfielder, also remain in the mix although exactly where has yet to be announced.
“We want them around … They’re both players we think can continue to develop to being guys who can help the first team roster at some point,” said Vanney.
Toronto currently has 24 players in its first-team roster. MLS squads have been increased by two spots to 30 this season
Only the first 20 spots count against a team’s salary cap and clubs do not have to fill slots 19 and 20. The so-called supplemental roster accounts for the remaining spots.
Fullback Jordan McCrary and Trinidad & Tobago forward Aikim Andrews, two other trialists, are training with Toronto FC 2. Defenders Lars Eckenrode and Juan Pablo Saavedra, both fourth-round picks in January, are also training with the USL squad.
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Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press