Toronto FC's Jayden Nelson: 'I never thought I'd made it'

Despite a breakout 2022 MLS season with TFC, the Canadian youngster feels he still has some ways to go in his development as a player.

Toronto FC's Jayden Nelson: 'I never thought I'd made it'

In many ways, 2022 was the “Year of the Kids” at Toronto FC.

A huge roster turnover saw approximately 20 players leave TFC for a variety of reasons last winter after Bob Bradley was appointed the team’s new head coach and sporting director. With new recruits not expected to arrive until the summer, Bradley looked to the team’s crop of young players to help carry the Reds through the first half of the season.

Under Bradley, Luca Petrasso, Deandre Kerr, Kosi Thompson and Themi Antonoglou earned their MLS debuts, while Petrasso, Jayden Nelson and Jahkeele Marshall-Rutty (before suffering a knee injury) were regular starters.

Then the winds of change blew through the club when Lorenzo Insigne, Federico Bernardeschi, Domenico Criscito, Mark-Anthony Kaye and Richie Laryea arrived. The veterans went straight into the starting lineup, while the youngsters were relegated to the bench. Nelson was the exception.