Major League Soccer

Shane O'Neill signs for Toronto FC following Seattle Sounders departure

Chris Smith
Shane O'Neill has made 118 regular-season MLS appearances
Shane O'Neill has made 118 regular-season MLS appearances / Steph Chambers/GettyImages
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Toronto FC have bolstered their defensive options with the signing of free agent center-back Shane O'Neill following his departure from Seattle Sounders.

Born in Ireland but raised in Colorado - where the defender played 57 times for the Rapids - O'Neill spent the last two seasons in Seattle, making 56 appearances across all competitions. He started the Sounders' 3-0 MLS Cup final defeat to the Columbus Crew in December 2020.

His arrival in Toronto is timely with the Reds recently saying goodbye to experienced USMNT center-back Omar Gonzalez, who has since joined 2021 Supporters' Shield winners New England Revolution.

“I am so excited by this opportunity to compete for one of the top clubs in North America,” O’Neill said in a club press release.

“The multi-cultural aspect of this city and its fans will be amazing to get to know and represent. I can’t wait to throw everything we have as a team into winning and competing for championships.”

Though TFC have lost a lot of winning experience in Gonzalez, O'Neill isn't without his own stories to tell. The 28-year-old doesn't have much in the way of silverware to his name, but plied his trade in the Netherlands, Belgium, and Cyprus in the past, while he was capped extensively for the United States at youth level. To date, he has made 118 appearances in MLS regular-season play.

“Shane is an experienced central defender with an excellent team mentality,” said TFC head coach and sporting director, Bob Bradley. “I have great respect for his competitiveness and work ethic. He has continued to improve throughout his career, and we are excited to bring him to TFC.”

Toronto will begin their 2022 MLS season away at FC Dallas on February 26. After finishing 13th in the Eastern Conference this time around, it's critical the Reds prepare well this offseason and get off to the best possible start in Texas.

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