USLSoccer.com Staff Report
Friday, January 29, 2016
After regular action for Toronto FC II in the 2015 season, both Jay Chapman and Chris Manella have had a busy offseason with the expectation that a larger role for TFC in Major League Soccer may arrive this year.
The two young midfielders both spent extensive time training at the Kia Training Ground, while Chapman and fellow TFC II player Alex Bono both headed to Spain to train with Spanish club Elche.
Manella, who made 16 appearances for TFC II last season, also got the chance to travel regularly with the club’s MLS side last year. The central midfielder has an ideal role model to learn his craft from in U.S. international Michael Bradley. As the new preseason began, his aim is to translate the lessons he learned in his rookie season to the higher speeds of MLS.
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“When you see the game from up close it’s a lot faster than you see on TV or even from the stands,” the 21-year-old told TorontoFC.ca’s Devang Desai. “I matured a lot over the year. I learned to be patient with the ball and sort of take my time and make the right decision and I can only hope for more lessons like that in the upcoming year.”
Chapman, who made nine appearances for TFC II in 2015, is learning a new role on the outside of midfield. Also a former PDL standout for K-W United FC, Chapman is looking to Columbus Crew SC midfielder Justin Meram and Paris Saint-Germain’s Javier Pastore as examples to follow, with both of those players having made the transition to the wing after starting their careers in more central roles.Manella and Chapman are also joined in TFC camp by six players who are currently set to compete for TFC II this season. Goalkeeper Phil Di Bennardo, defenders Skylar Thomas and Wesley Charpie, midfielders Luca Uccello and Raheem Edwards and forward Mo Babouli are all with the squad as it trains in Los Angeles to open training camp.