With all the talk around the MLS SuperDraft this week, many were asking where is Michigan State’s Jay Chapman? The Canadian midfielder was named as a First Team All-American and was a semifinalist for the 2014 MAC Hermann trophy. On Thursday, rumors Chapman had signed with Toronto FC as a Home Grown Player were confirmed and as a result does not need to go through the draft process.
The 21-year-old was in the club’s academy up until his senior year of high school but has not trained with the team since then.He has spent the past three seasons at Michigan State University where he appeared in 63 matches, starting in 62, while scoring 12 goals and adding 15 assists. Toronto FC’s home grown claim on the Canadian was a little murky to say the least, but they were able to convince the league that it should hold up. There were growing concerns that if Chapman hadn’t been allowed to sign with the Reds as a Home Grown Player, he would test the waters in Europe instead, a chance that the league was not willing to take. The Daily Mail had reported in December that Sunderland was monitoring Chapman and a number of other clubs in Eruope were interested in his services.
“We are very excited to sign Jay. It’s always rewarding to sign players that were developed from within your Academy,” said Toronto FC General Manager Tim Bezbatchenko. “Jay is a technical player and has shown an ability to be a driving force in the center of midfield during his time at Michigan State. He fits into the direction we are heading in terms of our style of play and will be an important part of our club.”
With the creation of a new USL Pro club in Toronto scheduled to begin play in 2015, the Reds will be looking to not only stack their MLS roster with talent but also their second team as well. Although Chapman may not end up spending much time with the USL Pro side, it is a great option for Toronto to have in order to ensure playing time for the youngster. Chapman would have likely been a top 5 pick in the 2015 MLS SuperDraft and the fact Toronto didn’t have to give up anything to sign him is a real steal for the Canadian club.