Veteran fullback Justin Morrow back for eighth season with Toronto FC
Toronto FC's Justin Morrow battles with Ottawa Fury's Wal Fall during the first half of Canadian Championship soccer action in Toronto, Wednesday August 14, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mark Blinch
Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press
Published Tuesday, February 23, 2021 2:44PM EST
TORONTO -- Veteran fullback Justin Morrow will be back for an eighth season with Toronto FC.
The MLS team announced Tuesday that the 33-year-old from Cleveland has signed a new deal covering the 2021 season. His previous contact expired at the end of the 2020 campaign.
Morrow has made 229 appearances for Toronto in all competitions, second only to midfielder Jonathan Osorio (263). Captain Michael Bradley is third (214) on the list.
"Justin has been a fixture with TFC and it's great to have him signed," Toronto GM Ali Curtis said in a statement. "His versatility on the field, veteran presence in the locker-room and overall leadership on and off the field have been critical for the club for a long time and we're thrilled that will continue."
Morrow, who doubles as executive director of Black Players for Change, has played 202 MLS regular-season and playoff games in Toronto colours since coming north in 2014 after four seasons with the San Jose Earthquakes.
He was an MLS all-star in 2012 with the Quakes and was named to the MLS Best XI in 2017 when Toronto won the MLS Cup, MLS Supporters' Shield and Canadian Championship.
Morrow, who has 17 career goals and 19 assists for Toronto, made US$330,000 in 2019, the last year the MLS Players Association released salary figures for. That ranked 11th among TFC players.
When healthy, Morrow has been a fixture at left fullback for Toronto with Richie Laryea and Brazil's Auro normally splitting right back duties.
Morrow had made it clear he wanted to return to Toronto.
"This organization, this city has given me so much as a professional athlete and as a man," he said during the off-season. "And I just want to have a chance to win more trophies here and play in front of our fans again. That is something that I'm desperate for and I know the rest of our team is desperate for."
Morrow saw action in 15 of Toronto's 23 regular-season games in 2020 with 11 starts. But he missed most of the stretch drive due to injury.
The team finished out the 2020 season playing out of East Hartford, Conn., due to pandemic-related travel restrictions. The club is looking at playing home games in Florida to start the 2021 season, which kicks off April 17.
Morrow played collegiate soccer at Notre Dame, appearing in 89 matches over four seasons with the Fighting Irish. San Jose selected him in the second round (28th overall) of the 2010 MLS SuperDraft.
The contracts of TFC defenders Eriq Zavaleta and Laurent Ciman also expired at the end of last season. Zavaleta is currently training with Toronto.