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Monday 28 January 2013

Where Are They Now? Former Reds Gargan, Harden, LaBrocca, Avila, Sturgis, Harmse, and Ricketts Find New Homes

    In the latest installment of ‘Where Are They Now’ several of the MLS-journeymen type players - and one very special footballer - who have donned the Red of Toronto FC find themselves in new surroundings with the North American season approaching in commence.

    Dan Gargan and Ty Harden, fan-favourites to various degrees - and for very different reasons – have landed and signed in San Jose after being selected in the second stage of the MLS Re-Entry Draft.

    Neither is expected to win a starting position in the back-line, but Frank Yallop enjoys having quality characters who know the league well stocking his bench.

    Gargan was deemed surplus to requirements at Chicago after serving a role with the Fire, even scoring a goal against Toronto back in August of 2011.

    Harden was the invisible man at TFC this past season, though he was unappreciated in his time there and struggled for fitness, landing with the defending Supporter’s Shield Champions is a just reward for his suffering.

    Nick LaBrocca has returned to the club that originally drafted him back in 2007, the Colorado Rapids. Acquired in a trade for another former Red – Eric Avila – LaBrocca leaves Chivas USA a season removed from the dynamic career-year that saw him a member of the 2011 All-Star team, scoring 8 goals and adding 6 assists.

    His wind-assisted curler from 2010 against Chicago was one of those rare fond memories that will live long in the minds of fans.

    Avila, selected by Colorado in the Re-Entry Draft, had his rights sent home to LA-based Chivas USA – he hails from nearby San Diego.

     His Mexican heritage, knowledge of the league, and playing style should fit nicely with the renewed Chivas envisaged by Head Coach El Chelis.

    Avi’s time in Toronto was inconsistent at best, but those flashes of quality were enough to have fans scratching their heads when he was seldom used by Paul Mariner; rumour of contract issues swirled.

    This one is a little old, but Nathan Sturgis, the forgotten man, has made his way from Houston to Colorado with a satchel of allocation money as part of the Omar Cummings trade.

    Acquired by TFC in a trade with Vancouver, who selected him from Seattle in their Expansion Draft haul, for the hefty price of a first-round pick – fret not, it was converted into Michael Nanchoff, who made very little impact with the Whitecaps and was not retained after the 2012 season - Sturgis never really settled in either Toronto, or his next destination, Houston, making only 15 league appearances over the last two seasons.

    Perhaps a victim of his versatility, he can play all over the midfield and at centre-back, hopefully Sturgis will find some time in the middle of the park for the Rapids.

    POV-FS holds all former Reds in high esteem – well, most of them anyways, but domestic heroes, those who take the pitch for the Red and White of Canada, hold pride of place.

    Kevin Harmse, though never far away from a red card, fits that billing.

    His time was fleeting, rather uneventful - discounting his game-winning strike against the Whitecaps in the opening match of the 2009 Voyageur’s Cup - and family concerns may have forced him back to Southern California prematurely, but news that he has re-signed with the San Antonio Scorpions of the NASL was more than welcome.

    And finally, for this installment anyways, have-boots-will-travel poster-boy – or is that milk carton victim - Rohan Ricketts has surfaced in yet another distant land.

    Since departing TFC in 2009, Ricketts has been to Hungary, Moldova, Germany, Ireland, India, and Exeter in search of a match, all while taking steps into the media game that he discovered he quite enjoyed while in Canada.

    His latest venture, after escaping some brewing trouble in Goa, sees him exploring his fourth continent, South America, with Ecuadorean club, CD Quevedo.

    Oh, the stories the man must have, POV-FS cannot wait for the novelization of his career.

    All the best to theses several departed members of the TFC roster, a few names from a long list to be sure, but their contributions, however minor, will not be forgotten.

    Just don’t go making the club look bad by performing excellently at the new digs and scoring goals when you meet the club again. Gargan, you’re forgiven for that one, and the celebration.

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