Toronto FC confirmed Thursday that midfielder Marky Delgado has signed a new long-term contract.
GM Ali Curtis had said in late April that the MLS team had reached agreement on a new deal with the 25-year-old California native, pending league approval. That came some two months later as Toronto and other teams prepare for the July 8 start of the MLS is Back Tournament in Florida.
"Mark has been such a big part of TFC’s success," Curtis said in a statement Thursday. "We are all very happy that he will be remaining with the club as he is an important part of our group.
"He has played in some of our club’s biggest matches over the years and gained a tremendous amount of experience. He’s young, takes great care of himself, and works incredibly hard, which were critical factors in ensuring he remained with TFC for the long-term."
Eyebrows were raised during pre-season in late January when Delgado, entering the last year of his existing contract, tweeted "Final year, let’s enjoy it."
Delgado made US$253,000 last season, which ranked 16th among TFC players, according to figures provided by the MLS Players Association.
In his sixth season with Toronto — and ninth in MLS — Delgado has made 170 appearances across all competitions for TFC with 14 goals and 19 assists. He ranks fourth on Toronto’s all-time appearance list behind Jonathan Osorio, Justin Morrow and Michael Bradley.
Delgado is an important piece of the TFC puzzle, helping keeping the attack rolling with quick transition passes.
He will be part of a crowded Toronto midfield when the team resumes play July 10 against D.C. United in the World Cup-style tournament to be played before empty stands at Disney’s Wide World of Sports complex in the Orlando area.
With Bradley and Argentine newcomer Pablo Piatti both fit again and Spanish playmaker Alejandro Pozuelo an automatic choice, that leaves Delgado, Osorio, Nick DeLeon, Erickson Gallardo, Tsubasa Endoh, Liam Fraser and Jacob Shaffelburg jockeying for position in the midfield behind star striker Jozy Altidore.
Delgado was originally acquired by Toronto FC in the November 2014 dispersal draft after Chivas USA closed shop. He was the seventh and last player chosen.
Toronto coach Greg Vanney knew what he was getting. A former assistant coach at Chivas, he had seen the young Delgado’s talents firsthand.
"At 16, he was on the (Chivas) under-19 team, training with the first team," Vanney recalled in an interview last October. "He has just an incredible capacity to cover ground. Jim Liston (TFC’s director of sport science) was working with us at Chivas at that time. He said ‘This kid has a world-class engine."’
Delgado has earned six caps for the U.S.