Toronto FC has signed former England youth international Matty Longstaff to a two-year contract with an option for 2026.

The 23-year-old midfielder spent the last four seasons with Newcastle United, where his older brother Sean also plays, but only made 20 appearances including 14 Premier League matches. He went out on loan three times.

Matty Longstaff scored on debut in October 2019, giving the Magpies a 1-0 win over Manchester United. At 19 years 199 days, he became the youngest player to score in his Premier League debut for Newcastle

His rocket-like right-footed strike from outside the penalty box was voted Premier League goal of the month, marking the first time a player won the award with a goal on their debut since August 2016.

The debut earned interest from other European clubs when his contract expired in 2020 but he elected to stay with Newcastle.

Longstaff was released by Newcastle last June after injuring his anterior cruciate ligament injury towards the end of 2022 while on loan to Colchester United in England's League Two.

Longstaff is the second trialist to join the MLS club after impressing in pre-season. TFC signed French defender Nicksoen Gomis from England's Sheffield United last week to a two-year deal through 2025 with options for 2026 and 2027.

“I'm thrilled to welcome Matty to our squad,” Toronto coach John Herdman, who comes from just outside Newcastle and grew up supporting the club, said in a statement. “His Premier League experience and dynamic playing style will add depth to our midfield and complement our tactical blueprint.”

To accommodate Longstaff, Toronto sent FC Cincinnati US$175,000 in general allocation money for a 2024 International roster slot. Toronto will send Cincinnati US$25,000 in 2024 and US$150,000 in 2025.

A native of Rotherham, Longstaff began his career with Newcastle, making his pro debut in August 2019 against Leicester City in the Carabao Cup.

In August 2021, he joined Scotland's Aberdeen FC on loan before moving to League Two side Mansfield Town in England in January 2022, making a combined 23 appearances for the two clubs. He made 10 appearances for Colchester.

Internationally, the five-foot-seven 155-pounder made two appearances for the England under-20 team.

Longstaff arrives in Canada needing no introduction to ice hockey.

His father David represented Britain more than 100 times and played more than 1,000 club games, mostly in England but also had a stint in Sweden. He retired at the age of 45 after serving as player-coach with the Whitley Warriors.

He captained Britain three times, scoring 32 goals and collecting 76 points in 16 World Championships and three Olympic qualifying competitions. He retired from international play in 2013 as Britain's most capped player.

Toronto (0-0-1) plays at the New England Revolution (0-1-0) on Sunday.


This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 29, 2024