Toronto FC signs Julio Cesar
Holding midfielder released by Kansas City in Nov.
Toronto FC has confirmed the signing of Brazilian veteran Julio Cesar.
The 34-year-old holding midfielder, who can also play in defence, spent the last two seasons with Sporting Kansas City before being waived in November.
"It's important that Toronto FC becomes a more difficult team to play against this year," Toronto president and GM Kevin Payne said in a statement Tuesday. "Julio Cesar will be an important part of the backbone of our team in the middle of the field.
"He's a tough experienced, committed player who was a big part of Sporting Kansas City's success over the past two years, and we're very pleased he will be a part of TFC this season."
Cesar, who played 27 games for Kansas City in each of the last two seasons, made a hefty $255,750 US in 2012.
Kansas City had the league's stingiest defence last season, yielding just 27 goals. Toronto was worst in MLS with 62 goals conceded.
Veteran Torsten Frings is ostensibly Toronto's holding midfielder but has also played in the backline to shore up a leaky defence. The addition of veteran defender Danny Califf — and possible additions in Thursday's SuperDraft, should allow Frings to remain in midfield.
Frings coming off hip surgery
Still Frings is coming off hip surgery and, at 36, isn't getting any younger. Toronto president and GM Kevin Payne, however, says Frings has assured him he is healthy and ready to go.
Payne met with Frings in London prior to Christmas. TFC's strength and conditioning staff has also checked up on Frings.
"He's a proud man and an accomplished player," Payne said last week when Toronto announced Ryan Nelsen as its new head coach. "He does not want people to remember him by the season that either he or the team had last year."
Cesar's football pedigree fits in with Payne's desire to stiffen his team's spine.
"We're looking for men, we're looking for real character on this team," he said . "We're going to have a lot of young players too. We're going to invest money in young players but we need to have the right people around to teach those young players what it takes to be successful and not just assume that a young player, because he's a great soccer player, is going to walk out on the field and be successful."