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Canadian striker Johnson signs with MLS

Canadian Under-23 national team striker Will Johnson has signed with Major League Soccer and could join his new MLS team within a week, sources confirmed to SBI on Saturday. The former Heerenveen striker and one-time Chicago Fire player is the target of multiple MLS teams.

The Chicago Fire still holds Johnson’s rights, meaning teams interested in Johnson must strike a deal with the Fire, which retained his rights after offering him an MLS contract in 2006, which Johnson turned down before accepting a deal with Heerenveen.

So where might Johnson go? Toronto FC makes sense, consider he is from Toronto and TFC needs a striker, but sources tell SBI that Toronto is not in the mix.

Where do you think Johnson should go? Do you think Johnson has what it takes to be an impact player in MLS? Share your thoughts below.


  1. @Posted by: Eugene | August 16, 2008 at 11:24 PM

    read the article again and welcome to how sports in North America (excluding Mexico) operate.

    Chicago drafted him and the drafts to him have not yet lapsed. Pretty simple.

    Mo is playing coy. They would like to have all the Canadians they can get to make roster moves a bit simpler. I doubt he’s high priority but I refuse to believe they have NO interest whatsoever.

    If Chicago keeps him it can’t hurt us (especially if we get to unload Herron) if not I doubt we are getting much in return. Guessing a little cash or a late 1st round/2nd round pick.

  2. On top of the fact why would Mo trade for rights to a player that may or may not be coming back and is unproven for the most part ?

  3. Alex-

    So youve seen Johann Smith play then?

    Youve built up a portfolio have you?

    Give the guy a break, he hasnt even played a game for us and people are whingeing

  4. Of course Mo Johnston couldn’t actually of traded for his rights in the first place in the Mcbride trade. No that would have made too much sense.

    Instead we’re buzy trading for track stars that can’t manage to dribble the ball in font of their own feet.

  5. The allocation crap is getting dumber and dumber every time. It’s like a team that has no intention of signing the guy gets first dibs on him and teams have to trade with that team as if they actually owned him, which they don’t – they own his rights under this moronic MLS rule.

  6. Why didn’t TFC get his rights thrown in during the McBride process? There were rumors about him playing for TFC earlier this summer. They must have known about him.

  7. Just to clear a few things up…

    -Johnson is really more of a winger than a striker or guy behind the strikers.

    -Johnson was on loan last season at De Graafschaap, where he started about 5-6 of his 25 Eredivisie appearances.

    -Upon returning to H’veen, the new coach told him he could find a new club.

  8. “but sources tell SBI that Toronto is not in the mix.”

    Do your sources tell you who is in the mix?

  9. I don’t understand why Chicago owns his rights, quite frankly. As a returning national team player, he should go through the allocation process and the Fire, like every other team, should have to bid on him.

  10. If Chicago did not own his rights – would MLS make him subject to the Allocation Ranking process as he is a returning Canadian national team player (since MLS does the same thing with returning USMNT players)? I do not recall a returning Canadian national teamer in the past.

  11. Johnson is not REALLY a pure striker. He’s more of an attacking midfielder who likes to slot himself behind the strikers.

    Johnson is a very talented player but needs to play. He was NOT a starter on an Eredivisie team last year. He was more of a sub for Herenveen.

    He and Andrew Ornoch made for a very dangerous offensive pairing for Team Canada at the Olympic qualifiers but they were not getting much in the way of quality service from the midfield.

    I want him with TFC but I think he’d be very good for any of the following teams:

    – San Jose (they have assembled a few weapons now and Johnson would be a useful piece of the pie for that team)

    – Houston (might have to play as striker but would benefit from DeRo)

    – Chicago (I believe his better than any of the current otpions Blanco has to work with right now. He and Nyarko would make a dangerous duo for the future)

    – NYRB (they need talent, plain and simple, to match up with Angel but I’d hate for him to have to play at Giants Stadium)

  12. Will Johnson is a quality player. He was Canada’s best player for their U23’s at Olympic qualifying, scoring 3 goals (including one against Mexico).

    Johnson was a starter in the Dutch league last year and I am surprised he isn’t there again this season with Herenveen.

    Yes, what ever MLS team gets him should be very happy.

  13. not calling johnson mid-talent, but rather the player he’d be traded for if we were to get a player… personally if he doesnt want to play for the fire, or the fire deem it not necessary to pick him up, then id settle for allocation and mid d.pick

  14. DigzTFC – no worries, i thought i would launch the first of a series of demands….

    outside of some allocation and possible d.picks i dont see much of anything obtained…. first off, the fire wouldnt want a mid-talented player from some other team… our starters are pretty set and if we add someone to our team it would have to be someone deemed possible of starting, not some roster filler…. personally i dont know much of Johnson’s talent, nor his relations with the Fire… but if we cant use him, lets not drag this out….

  15. Easy on Brett, not all jokes can be winners hahaha. Anyways, good young kid in Will Johnson. Whoever gets him will see a lot of heart and grit…which I hope translates into goals and furthers his development

  16. I think its going to depend on what his salary is, quite frankly. If it’s less that 200k, then I can look into the magic 8 ball sitting next to me and see Chicago keep this kid and release Frankowski.

  17. I actually think it’s cool when Canadians get to play for the lone Canadian MLS team. No way that’s happening though, the league had to resolve the last trade between the Fire and Toronto.

    I think San Jose should get him, why the hell not.

  18. I imagine Toronto is out of the picture. They signed Johann Smith (former Bolton) yesterday, so they recently signed a quality young striker. This doesn’t mean that they couldn’t use two, but I would think that they would be focusing elsewhere for now.

    I’m not sure where Will Johnson will go, but these are two great signings by MLS. Good to see some young talent coming to the United States instead of leaving it.

  19. Quick question Ives – suppose no-one had Johnson rights – would he be part of the same allocation process as Mcbride or is that only for Americans?

  20. Why do you guys think Will Johnson is worth all that? Fire fans, you’re not going to fleece Mo, especially when he has no interest in a player as reported. The last trade was fair IMO. You got McBride. You’ll get some (not mjor) allocation for him and maybe a 3-4 round pick and best from any team.

  21. Dammit!

    Mo does not have to go however id like to know why this guy isnt on our radar. Hes going to be a great signing for whoever. I really really do wonder why hes not on our radar. IF TFC makes moves to him itll be interesting to see who/what we give up for him.

  22. The Fire should trade the rights to Johnson to Toronto for the draft pick, allocation cash and future considerations they sent that way for McBride.

    TFC can keep Barrett.

  23. “future considerations” or supplemental pick, chicago has zero leverage. MLS already signed him and he’s not demanding on playing on a specific team. You think the league is just going to let him sit there and collect pay checks if chicago doesnt like any of the offers comming their way?

    i cant wait till these stupid discovery claims and mumbojumboness is erased from the rule books

  24. phillip- it happens with other teams as well… if i recall, it recently happened with noonan, but he was traded off anyhow…

  25. DC United should pick him up to give good pairing with Emilio. Give Chicago their allocation spot, MLS superdraft spot, and Rod Dyachenko

  26. we want 3 of TFC’s starters + allocation money + all their Draft picks for the 09′ season + 1/2 of the US national dept paid + brian adams shot…. then we’ll think of a trade MUWAHAHAHAHAHA


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