MLS

T&T's Spicer ready to surprise MLS after being number one draft pick to Toronto FC

By Sports Desk December 20, 2023
Tyrese Spicer Tyrese Spicer

Trinidad and Tobago's Tyrese Spicer says he is ready to prove his worth and surprise Major League Soccer (MLS) rivals, after he was selected as the number one overall draft pick by Toronto FC during the MLS SuperDraft on Tuesday.

The former Secondary Schools Football League’s (SSFL) top goal-scorer, who represented St Mary's College and St Augustine Secondary, joins Toronto after a season in which he scored 14 goals and provided three assists in just 16 games for Lipscomb University.

Spicer, 23, who hails from a tight-knit family in the twin island republic, said the selection is a moment he dreamed of for years.

"I just thank God for the opportunity to be at number one. I would never imagine a guy from Trinidad, this small island, just always trying my best to add everything, just grinding everything out to be in this moment right now, in this spot. It shines a light on Trinidad and Tobago," the pre-signed senior said during a Zoom interview with MLSsoccer.com.

Spicer earned First Team All-American, Atlantic Sun Conference Player of the Year and MAC Hermann Trophy semi-finalist honours. His form at SSFL level continued with him to university as he managed 29 goals and 18 assists through 57 overall appearances for Lipscomb, and he is now aiming to carry that form into the MLS.

"It means the world to me honestly, to share this moment with [my family]. I would never dream of being in this position, being drafted number one in the SuperDraft. Without God, this would have never happened honestly. My family is very big on faith and on God as well. And I just enjoyed the moment. ... I'm ready for the next steps in my life," Spicer noted.

Spicer readies for his challenge at a unique time as Toronto FC reset under new Head coach John Herdman, the former Canada manager, with home the Trinidadian spoke before the SuperDraft. He explained that he has already gathered confidence that can power a young player's success.

"He was like, 'We could see you playing and getting minutes in this coming season.' He thinks I have world-class potential. He thinks that I can really make it to the next level. And I also think I can make it to the next level as well. I think I have the abilities. I believe in myself," Spicer shared.

Spicer readily admit that his confidence lies in his immense potential and versatility to play anywhere across the attacking line.

"I'm very direct, I'm explosive. If you watch me, people always say that I'm very unpredictable. And that's a good thing because I always want to have my opponents on their Ps and Qs at all times," Spicer declared.

"I like to score goals. I expect a lot of stuff for myself. ... Toronto fans, you're going to be happy to see me on the field. I'm definitely going to bring some excitement to the stadium and some big goals as well. I know my abilities; I know I'm good enough. And I will definitely surprise MLS," the towering player standing just over six-foot tall added.

Meanwhile, Toronto's general manager Jason Hernandez has high expectations of Spicer, as they seek to improve on a bottom-of-the-league table finish that led to Bob Bradley's departure midway through the 2023 season. The Reds scored just 26 goals last year, tied for the fewest in MLS.

"Tyrese possesses a unique combination of technical and physical qualities that align with our player profile and tactical blueprint. He also has a resilient mindset and a drive to improve, which makes him a great fit for TFC. We look forward to working with Tyrese to accelerate his growth as a player and person while helping us achieve our goals as a club," Hernandez said in an MLS interview.

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