KIA TRAINING GROUND — Toronto FC fullback Richard Eckersley is — sadly — one of the few internationals the Reds have had long enough to even consider altering his immigration status.
The Englishman told the Toronto Sun Monday that he’s been in talks with TFC director of team and player operations Earl Cochrane to potentially take up Canadian permanent residency in an effort to free up one of the club’s international roster slots next season.
“Earl and I spoke about it,” Eckersley said. “It would be good for the club if I can do that … It will help the team so we can bring in more internationals.
“Obviously my heart is with England, but if it helps the team … I’d be interested in doing that.”
In case you don’t follow the league all that closely, TFC is only eligible to carry a certain number of non-Canadian or American players each season, typically between eight and 10 depending on trades etc.
But if Eckersley becomes a permanent resident, he no longer counts as an international.
Eckersley, who originally signed with the Reds in April of 2011, said he’s approaching eligibility.
“It makes sense for the club to do it, so I’m all for it if the club wants to push for it,” he said.
“I think you have to be in Canada three years and I’ve done two and a half now.”
Eckersley confirmed to the Sun last month his contract is guaranteed through next season.
He’s hoping to recover from a nagging hamstring injury in time for a match at Kansas City on July 13.