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Toronto FC signs Irish centerback O’Dea

O'Dea (Reuters Pictures)

Toronto FC's search for a dependable centerback to help correct the club's defensive woes has culminated with the signing of Irish international Darren O'Dea.

After the club's pursuit of Swedish international Olof Mellberg did not come to fruition, TFC signed O'Dea Friday, adding a 25-year-old centerback in his prime and one with experience in Scotland and England. O'Dea came through the Celtic FC youth ranks before signing with the senior team in 2006. He played for the Scottish power while also spending time on loan with Reading, Ipswich Town and most recently Leeds United.

"Darren addresses our need for an experienced, no nonsense central defender," Toronto FC coach Paul Mariner said in a club statement. "Darren has great leadership abilities and his experience, both for club and country, will be a welcomed addition to our club and for our young players. We are so pleased to bring him to Toronto."

The 6-foot-1 O'Dea, who has 14 caps and was a part of Ireland's Euro 2012 team, will be charged with locking things down in the back for a club whose -14 goal differential is second-worst in MLS, with only Portland's -17 being worse. While he will attempt to help TFC continue what would be a miraculous climb to reach the playoffs for the first time in club history, he will also be a major asset in CONCACAF Champions League play for the Reds.

What do you think of the signing for TFC? Is O'Dea the answer in the back? 

Share your thoughts below.


  1. I love seeing foreign internationals come to MLS. Even if it’s lesser-known guys from smaller countries, it helps our exposure and reputation when we’re able to lure internationals in their prime.

  2. Can someone explain how he was “signed” after the international Window was closed? No where do I see it said he was out of contract, just history of Loans.

  3. Really? This comment would suggest that you feel that English Championship-quality players are not up to the standard of MLS.

    25 year-old central defenders who are good enough to play in the EPL will never come to MLS so to summarily ridicule this move is unfair and premature.

  4. Not understanding how this is the ‘bossman’ Mariner eluded to. A 25 year old discarded by the EPL for not being good enough.

  5. This is the right type of signing. Prime age defender with international experience. I hope he works out for TFC and other teams follow this trend. For the most part MLS signings are on the right track the past couple of years.


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