Toronto FC Signs South African Forward Cassius Mailula to Boost Squad
Toronto FC has made a significant addition to their roster by acquiring 22-year-old South African international forward, Cassius Mailula, from Mamelodi Sundowns FC. The move is part of the U22 Initiative, an MLS roster-building strategy aimed at integrating promising young talent from around the world. Mailula's contract with Toronto FC runs through the 2026 season, with an option for 2027.
Having played twice for the South African national team, Bafana Bafana, Mailula impressed during his time with Mamelodi Sundowns, scoring 15 goals and providing four assists in 31 matches across various competitions. Notably, he played a key role in helping Mamelodi Sundowns reach the semifinals of the 2022-23 African Champions League.
Toronto FC's general manager, Jason Hernandez, expressed excitement about the signing, praising Mailula's versatility, dynamic movement, and finishing ability with both feet. Additionally, Mailula's off-pitch qualities, including humility, grit, and ambition, were seen as valuable assets for the club.
This marks Toronto FC's third acquisition in the summer transfer window, with midfielders Latif Blessing and Franco Ibarra joining earlier. However, the club has also witnessed some outgoing moves, including trades involving center back Matt Hedges and midfielder Mark-Anthony Kaye, as well as a loan deal for forward Ayo Akinola.
Amidst these roster changes, Toronto FC continues its search for a new head coach after parting ways with Bob Bradley in late June. Currently led on an interim basis by Terry Dunfield, the club also saw Jason Hernandez promoted to the position of general manager, a move related to Bob Bradley's previous role as sporting director.
As they navigate the 2023 season, Toronto FC faces a challenging task to secure a spot in the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs, having missed out on postseason action for the past two years. Currently, they sit 14th in the Eastern Conference standings, 11 points away from the playoff zone at the Leagues Cup break.