Last week, we talked about TFC’s first round pick Clement Simonin and how his role with the first team was limited due to being injured for most of the season. Now we talk about a player who actually played more than 10 games last season and is seen as ‘one for the future’ for the Reds. His name is Jay Chapman.
Chapman is regarded as a top talent, not just in the TFC organization, but in North American soccer. He played his college years at Michicgan State from 2012-2014. Chapman won so many awards while in the NCAA:
- Big Ten All Freshman team in 2012
- First Team All-Big Ten in 2013
- First Team All-America, 2014
- First Team NSCAA All-Region, 2014
- MAC Hermann semi-finalst, 2014
- Big Ten Midfielder of the Year, 2014
- First Team All-Big Ten
Chapman was undoubtedly a top player for the Spartans while at Michigan State. Top Drawer Soccer ranked him as the 19th top talent in all of North America in 2014.
Chapman is a product of the Toronto FC Academy and is a homegrown player. He started his TFC career in 2010, at age of 16 and left in 2012 to join the Spartans. He has represented Canada at the U-17 level and most recently at the U-23 level when Canada was ousted by the United States in Olympic Qualifying.
This season, was a big one for Chapman, who actually found his way onto the first team. However, he saw most of the games on the bench. Chapman was mostly filling in while TFC dealt with injuries. The 21 year-old was able to make 10 appearances for the Reds and started once this past season, playing in a total of 202 minutes. He wasn’t able to find himself on the score sheet, but did record one shot. Chapman did play in the pre-season games against Manchester City and Sunderland, which allowed this young talent to go up against some tough opponents.
When the arrivals of Herculez Gomez and Ahmed Kantari joined the team in August, Chapman was sent back down to the USL and competed with TFC II.
While at the USL level, Chapman was clearly one of the best, if not the best players for the young Reds. The team looked much better when Chapman was with the team, as he found his teammates for great chances, had nice opportunities on net and was using his skills to make the opposing team look silly.
Chapman only played nine games for the young Reds, but was able to find the back of the net twice and put up an assist. His 11 shots were good for eleventh on the team and his two goals put him in a tie for fourth on the team.
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Another bright spot for Chapman this year, is that he got selected to represent the MLS in the Chipotle Homegrown match against top Mexican side Club America’s U-20 team. Chapman played 45 minutes that match, and was unable to get on the scoreboard. Maybe not his best match, but still, he got to represent the MLS and got rewarded for his hard work.
Next year could see Chapman play a more advanced role with the team, depending on what Greg Vanney and Tim Bezbatchenko do with the midfield. If they decide to bring anyone new, Chapman could most likely start the season in the USL and continue to grow his abilities. Keep in mind, Chapman is only 21 and has a lot to give to TFC.
It will be interesting to see how the Reds handle the situation of Chapman and his fellow homegrown teammates, and if they are truly thinking about the clubs youth’s.