Toronto FC signs teenage defender Adam Pearlman to homegrown contract

Toronto FC head coach John Herdman speaks during a news conference at the Major League Soccer 2024 Media Day, Thursday, Jan. 11, 2024, in Miami Beach, Fla. (AP)

Toronto FC added to a flurry of personnel moves ahead of Sunday’s MLS season opener, signing teenage defender Adam Pearlman to a homegrown player contract.

The 18-year-old from Maple, Ont., who is signed through 2027 with an option for 2028, becomes the 33rd player in club history to sign for the first team from the Toronto academy.

Pearlman is currently in Trinidad and Tobago with the Canadian under-20 team for CONCACAF U-20 qualifying play.

“Adam has been a standout performer at both the academy and MLS NEXT Pro platforms while also representing his country at the international level,” Toronto GM Jason Hernandez said in a statement Saturday. “We look forward to continuing to work with Adam in 2024 and beyond.”

Pearlman becomes the 29th member of TFC’s first team roster — and the 15th aged 24 or younger.

In recent days, Toronto has signed goalkeeper Greg Ranjitsingh, defenders Richie Laryea, Kevin Long and Nicksoen Gomis and waived veteran forward Adama Diomande.

Pearlman spent the last two seasons with Toronto FC II, making 48 appearances including 47 starts in MLS NEXT Pro play.

The six-foot 171-pounder made his first-team debut last July against St. Louis City SC after signing a short-term loan with TFC. He was named to the 2022 MLS NEXT all-star game.

Born in Johannesburg, Pearlman joined the Toronto academy in October 2016 after stints with Glen Shields Futbol Club and Future Soccer Academy.

Toronto opens the season Sunday at FC Cincinnati in a worst-versus-first matchup. TFC (4-20-10) finished last in the league last season, 47 points below Supporters’ Shield winner Cincinnati (20-5-9).

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