Toronto FC Signs CPL Defender Lukas MacNaughton
Pacific FC original Lukas MacNaughton has made the move upwards to Toronto FC.
The 26-year-old centre-back arrives as the club’s third domestic signing in just as many days, with Bob Bradley also adding further Canadian talent in Deandre Kerr and Greg Ranjitsingh. While the move has yet to be confirmed by either club, we stated our belief that the deal was done last week and have since independently confirmed as such.
MacNaughton joins the reds after completing three seasons with Canadian Premier League side Pacific FC, where the stalwart defender clocked in 59 appearances across all completions, contributing five goals and one assist. The defender has already joined the club for preseason in California, having completed his medical over the weekend.
His transition upwards has been largely expected all month after an initial report by Transfermarkt. His transfer to Toronto FC is rumoured to have netted Pacific FC a return to the tune of $175,000 along with future incentives, with 21-year-old defender Luke Singh reportedly being sent to Pacific on a season-long loan as part of the deal.
The six-foot-two centre-back has been rated as the most valuable defender in the Canadian Premier League, with former head coach Pa-Modou Kah having long championed him as an MLS level defender. Through his 59 appearances at the CPL level, Lukas established himself as sharp defender with an eye for a good tackle, plenty of physicality, and great situational awareness on the pitch.
For me when I look at him and having played in MLS myself, I see him as an MLS defender. I think the greatest reward for him as well as us as a club is for him to move to a higher level where he can test himself, because he truly deserves it and he is ready for that level.Pa-Modou Kah
MacNaughton’s third season with Pacific FC saw him put in good individual showings against both Toronto FC and the Vancouver Whitecaps, with the defender featuring for every minute of the club’s semi-final reaching Canadian Championship campaign. He then helped Pacific FC win its first-ever championship, qualifying the west coast side for continental action in the upcoming season.
MacNaughton becomes just the second-ever CPL-to-MLS transfer, with former Cavalry FC defender Joel Waterman being picked up by CF Montreal after the league’s inaugural season. With Kwame Awuah trialing with the Vancouver Whitecaps, it’ll be interesting to see if the transfer movement upwards picks up further steam.
TFC boss Bob Bradley has wasted little time instilling a new era with Toronto FC, supplement marquee addition Lorenzo Insigne with a lot of faith in domestic talent – and that extends into his coaching staff with the addition of Paul Stalteri.
Toronto FC’s first preseason under Bradley has already witnessed a lot of restructuring at the back, with Omar Gonalez and Richie Laryea departing, and Kemar Lawrence expected to follow. Bradley has brought informer Seattle Sounders centre-back Shane O’Neill, with Mexican defender Carlos Salcedo rumoured to be en route, too.
While some had initially speculated that MacNaughton’s arrival was related to MLS Next Pro, we can confirm that this is a first team transfer.
It is expected that his signing will be formally announced as soon as tomorrow.