TFC Republic Weekly: December 18-24

With the No. 1 pick in the MLS SuperDraft, Toronto FC can take a small step towards retooling its roster ahead of next season.

TFC Republic Weekly: December 18-24

Welcome to the latest edition of TFC Republic Weekly, an email newsletter that will land in the inbox of both paid subscribers and free members of TFC Republic every Monday.

This newsletter will look at what's in store over the next seven days for Toronto FC, and also get a glimpse of what to expect at TFC Republic in the coming days.

So, without further ado...

Toronto FC has No. 1 pick in Tuesday's MLS SuperDraft

By virtue of its last-place finish in 2023, Toronto FC has the No. 1 overall pick in this week's MLS SuperDraft.

Things can change between now and Tuesday's event, of course. But GM Jason Hernandez was talking last week like someone who planned to use Toronto's No. 1 selection on an NCAA player, rather than trade it away.  

“Recognizing that we have the number one pick in the draft, we've put a lot of time and energy and resources really pinning that down," Hernandez told reporters.

"[We feel] like we've done a really comprehensive assessment as to the opportunity, the prospects out there and who would be the best fit and the best addition to our club. So, we've kind of gone full steam ahead, such that we're gonna utilize the first pick, and it'll be someone that's going to help us and not only now but for years to come.”

TFC also have picks in the second round (No. 30 overall) and third round (No. 59 and 85th). 

In last year's draft, Toronto used the 32nd overall pick on Penn State defender Jalen Watson, who signed with TFC 2 before being released by the club at the end of this season. Toronto's other draft pick, Western Michigan forward Charlie Sharp, opted to go back to school and ended up being the top scorer in all of NCAA Division 1 men's soccer with 20 goals, while also tallying a career-best 11 assists.

Sharp, who went 61st in the draft, was also named a finalist for the 2023 MAC Hermann Trophy which honours the top NCAA soccer player. Even though Sharp didn't sign a pro contract after being drafted, the Reds will retain his MLS rights through Dec. 31, 2024.

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TFC taking time in making roster moves ahead of 2024

While Toronto FC has been very quiet this off-season, GM Jason Hernandez insists there’s a lot going on behind the scenes as he attempts to rebuild his squad ahead of the 2024 MLS regular season. 

“I can promise you it’s been anything but quiet around here,” Hernandez said last week.  

Hernandez already made some important roster moves in early November, most notably deciding not to bring back veteran Víctor Vázquez, and exercising the club's options on goalkeeper Luka Gavran and midfielder Alonso Coello. Now the hard, important work begins for Hernandez as several MLS player mechanisms have either kicked in or are about to kick in, giving him the chance to strengthen his team.

“We are very much into the puzzle pieces that are roster reconstruction and an MLS off-season. So, that is obviously dealing with what's to come in and around the trade window, free agency, [MLS] re-entry, the [SuperDraft], waivers… That's without including the piece of the external discussions we're having about players currently on our roster that potentially could be on the move, and then certainly conversations being had for players to join us,” Hernandez said.  

“So, what I would say is we are and continue to be very active in all of those areas. I'm very hopeful that we'll have some news to report sooner rather than later as we are in [what’d you’d call] some advanced discussions in different areas… A lot is happening.” 

There are currently 23 TFC players who are contractually guaranteed for 2024. Keep in mind that the MLS roster limit is 30 players. Hernandez is going to have to move some players out this off-season if he wants to reshape TFC into a competitive side in 2024. Even though the club hasn’t yet made any roster additions or trades, Hernandez assures that roster changes are coming – they’ll likely just happen either before or just after mid-January when TFC players are expected to report to pre-season training camp.  

“My goal is to get as many things done prior to pre-season. … We're not going to get everybody by Day 1, but that's my goal. I'm certainly optimistic and hopeful that there'll be some new faces ready to go,” Hernandez offered.  

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TFC Republic is going on vacation

TFC Republic will be on hiatus over Christmas and into the New Year as I take some much-needed time off. What that means is I won't be writing any stories, doing any video blogs or sending out the weekly newsletter. I'm completely shutting things down so I can take a break and enjoy time with my family and friends. I'll send out a proper notice with more details on Friday morning.

Even though the website will be not be updated during my vacation, I will still be checking my email on a regular basis. So, if subscribers need to get a hold of me for any reason, please don't hesitate to drop me a line. You can reach me via email at You can also contact me via Twitter.

And, of course, should any major Toronto FC news break, I will end my vacation early in order to provide the type of in-depth coverage you have come to expect from TFC Republic.

TFC taking time in making roster moves ahead of next season
“I can promise you it’s been anything but quiet around here,” GM Jason Hernandez said about Toronto FC’s off-season rebuild.

Important off-season dates to remember

With TFC coming off their worst ever campaign, this off-season is going to be one of the most important in club history. Here are some important dates to keep in mind.

The MLS trade window reopened on Dec. 11. MLS clubs can now tweak their rosters by making trades with other teams across the league until the MLS primary transfer window closes next April.

MLS free agency period began on Dec. 13. There are a number of high-profile players across the league who are out of contract and free to sign with the other clubs. Last year, TFC delved into the free agent pool by signing veteran defender Matt Hedges and goalkeeper Sean Johnson. To read the full list of potential free agents this off-season, CLICK HERE.

MLS will officially announce the 2024 regular season schedule on Dec. 20, so TFC fans will find out when, where and who the Reds will play next season.

The MLS re-entry process kicked off last week with stage 1, but like most MLS clubs TFC didn't select anybody. The Reds have the No. 1 pick for stage 2 of the re-entry draft on Dec. 21. The re-entry process applies to players who are out of contract (or had their option declined) and are not eligible for free agency. There's a lot more nuance to the league's re-entry process, so if you want to read more about it, CLICK HERE.

Stories to look out for at TFC Republic

The MLS SuperDraft takes place on Tuesday at 3:00 p.m. ET (Apple TV). Toronto FC has the No. 1 overall pick. The Reds also have a second-round pick and a pair of third-round picks, so GM Jason Hernandez will be pretty busy. TFC Republic's pre-Draft coverage rolls out today and we'll have in-depth post-Draft coverage, too.

Other stories that will be published later this week include:    

  • My random thoughts column on Toronto FC.  
  • We'll have an in-depth report if Toronto selects a player during the second stage of the MLS re-entry process on Thursday.
  • TFC Republic names its Toronto FC player of the year for 2023.
  • We'll have a news report on TFC's schedule for the 2024 MLS regular season when the league officially announces the full season schedule on Wednesday.
  • And more!

TFC Republic mailbag

TFC Republic will feature a regular reader mailbag column where I answer questions from subscribers about Toronto FC and Canadian soccer in general.

I'll answer the best questions submitted to me by TFC Republic readers, so feel free to drop me an email at You can also reach out to me via Twitter and Facebook.

(Top photo courtesy of Andy Truong/Toronto FC)

TFC Republic has a comments section! At the very bottom of every story, there is a feature where you can post your comments, so be sure to share your thoughts and views.