Published: February 12, 4:46 p.m. ET
Updated: February 15, 12:05 p.m. ET
We got some Toronto FC news on Monday, even if we didn’t get it from the club itself.
Western Michigan University announced that TFC have officially signed 2023 MLS SuperDraft pick Charlie Sharp to a contract. It is unclear at this stage whether Sharp has signed a first-team deal or a TFC II contract, and WMU notes that TFC did not disclose the financials of the deal.
On Thursday, a full three days after WMU had announced the news, TFC released their own statement confirming that Sharp has been signed to an MLS NEXT Pro contract to play with TFC II.
“Charlie Sharp is a welcome addition to our team, both on and off the field,” said TFC II Head Coach Gianni Cimini. “He possesses an imposing presence, a strong mindset, and a keen eye for goal that make him a threat in crucial areas, creating opportunities for our team. Charlie’s dedication, leadership, and commitment to excellence make him a true asset to our squad.”
Sharp was drafted 61st overall by TFC in the third round of the 2023 draft in December 2022 after scoring 23 goals and 14 assists in his first 50 starts for the WMU Broncos between 2019 and 2022. He spent last year with the college team as a senior and had his best season yet.
In 2023, the 6-foot-5, 22-year-old almost doubled his goalscoring numbers from 2022 by racking up 19 goals (seven of which were game-winning strikes) and eight assists, setting or tying personal career-highs in all three categories. His 19 goals led the NCAA in all of division one men’s soccer in 2023 and he was recognized by being named Western Michigan’s first-ever MAC Hermann Trophy finalist for college Player of the Year.
The Reds held first dibs on his MLS rights until the end of 2024 and now, with Sharp having been a full participant in TFC pre-season camp in recent weeks, they have signed him for real.
Once TFC’s preseason camp concludes this weekend with a game against LAFC, he will join up with Cimini’s TFC II squad ahead of their MLS NEXT Pro season opener on March 17. That season kicks off three weeks after TFC’s MLS season and it’s unclear whether he will keep training with the first team in the intervening period.
TFC have a bloated group of forwards: Deandre Kerr, Cassius Mailula, Prince Owusu, Ayo Akinola, Adama Diomande, Jordan Perruzza, and Hugo Mbongue. Of that slate, it was only really Kerr who emerged from the horrors of 2023 with any real credit to his name.
Does that mean there could be a place for Sharp in the first-team set-up? It’s possible if he impresses Herdman and staff enough by translating his college scoring prowess to MLS NEXT Pro level. Who knows how this season could end up panning out for a young striker who has been among the very top talents at his level?