Wednesday, September 9, 2009

TFC To Sign Local-Born Talent; Waves Farewell To Dichio On Field

Toronto-born midfielder Julian de Guzman will become Toronto FC's first designated player under Major League Soccer's so-called "Beckham Rule" after officially signing him Tuesday, according to the Toronto Globe & Mail.

The Designated Player Rule allows a team to sign one player for an amount over the team's salary cap with the team only paying a portion of the overall salary and the other league franchises chipping in on it.

De Guzman became available to Toronto FC after his contract with Deportivo de La Coruna in Spain's La Liga expired last month. He was the first Canadian player to compete in Spain's top league.

He left home at age 15 to play in Europe and joined the reserve team of France first division team Olympique de Marseilles. He would later join Saarbrucken in Germany's second division before debuting in the top flight Bundesliga in 2002 with Hannover 96.

De Guzman also made 40 appearances for the Canadian National Team, was the 2008 Canadian Soccer Association's Male Player of the Year and was the most valuable player of both his La Liga team and the CONCACAF Gold Cup in 2007.

De Guzman has an older brother, Jonathan, who plays in the Netherlands for Feyenoord Rotterdam.

In related team news...

Forward Danny Dichio will announced his retirement as a player Wednesday at BMO Field, but will immediately become a member of the coaching staff.

Dichio scored the franchise's first MLS goal in 2007 and had 14 goals in 59 career games.

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