TFC II and some of its new additions are hoping to make a statement about Canada’s soccer identity in the MLS Next Pro League.
Many popular hubs of soccer globally, such as Brazil, Europe, and Africa, have distinct styles of play that define their identity within the game.
Midfielder Steffan Yeates thinks this new league will be an opportunity to showcase their talents and the identity that Canada has built for itself.
“I feel like with our type of players that we have here in Canada, we’re very athletic and very dynamic,” Yeates said, in a recent interview.
He also mentioned that the team’s style of play takes advantage of their athleticism to dominate the ball and stay aggressive throughout the game.
As TFC II players awaited the start of their season (after this interview the club started 1-1), they joined the nation in rallying around Canada’s men’s national team, which qualified for their first FIFA World Cup since 1986.
“I think it’s amazing for Canada and soccer, especially for young players growing up to see that their nation is at an actual World Cup,” Yeates said. “I think it’s positive. I think it’s inspiring.”
Competition a key for success
TFC II coach Gianni Cimini said they will use this season to elevate the team’s competition level, and the addition of goalkeeper Luka Gavran would solidify the backfield.
“He has that big presence and that voice where he could connect things throughout the backline,” Cimini said in an interview on Thursday.
Cimini added that they’re excited by the veteran experience that Gavran will bring to the team ahead of their season.
“I’m gonna have to step up as a leader,” Gavran said. “Hopefully, keep the team in check, during games and off the field.”
Gavran was the 31st overall pick in the second round of the 2022 MLS SuperDraft.
TFC II has some familiar faces coming back, such as Antonio Carlini, Themi Antonoglou, and Mehdi Essoussi, who have re-signed from the previous season.
Each MLS Next Pro team will play 24 regular-season games with 12 at home and 12 away. The season will span for 26 weeks and will end in September.