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Toronto FC selects winger Tyrese Spicer with 1st pick of MLS SuperDraft

Toronto FC added some sizzle to its left side in Tyrese Spicer, taking the 23-year-old from Trinidad and Tobago in Tuesday’s MLS SuperDraft.

The Lipscomb University winger was a United Soccer Coaches first-team all-American, the Atlantic Sun ConferencePlayer of the Year and a semifinalist for the MAC Hermann Trophy this year.

Spicer led the ASUN with 14 goals and added three assists for a conference-leading 31 points. He had 29 goals and 18 assists in 57 career appearances for Lipscomb, which is based in Nashville.

Toronto GM Jason Hernandez stated the team hopes Spicer can deliver the kind of flank attack that coach John Herdman deployed with his wingbacks/wingers with Canada.

“For us, Tyrese would fit very much in a space that we certainly don’t have that kind of profile, out on the left,” Hernandez said.

Spicer scored in 10 consecutive games to open the 2023 season and concluded the regular season as the ASUN leader in goals, points, shots on goal, goals per game, points per game and game-winning goals, and led the NCAA in goals per game.

Spicer considers his time is now.

“I would like to come into the first team,” he said from the family home in Trincity, Trinidad. “I think I’m good enough to have an impact on it. I know the transition from NCAA level to MLS level is going to be a jump. And I’m going to have to take a few weeks to adjust to the transition and the fast pace and the high IQ of these players.

“But I trust myself. I’m confident always in myself. I can feed off of these pros and they can guide me and take me under their wing.”

Some had wondered whether TFC might stay local and pick Canadian forward Kimani Stewart-Baynes. The Toronto native, who turns 19 on Jan. 17, was named Big Ten Freshman of the Year after scoring three goals and adding seven assists in 14 matches for the University of Maryland.

But Toronto opted for the six-foot-one 153-pound Spicer, with Maple Leafs captain John Tavares announcing the pick.

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