Toronto FC selected a Jamaican with Canadian residency in last week’s Major League Soccer (MLS) supplemental draft.
Ashton Bennett, a striker who spent his last two collegiate seasons with Coastal Carolina, was the first pick in the second round. He completed his Carolina career ranked sixth all-time with 39 goals, tied for seventh with 94 points and ninth with 184 shot attempts despite playing just 47 games, 38 of which were victories. He was one of three players to win the Big South Player of the Year Award in back-to-back seasons.
Coach Shaun Docking said Bennett was one of the best players to turn out for the university.
“He’s been fantastic,” said Docking. “I still think Joseph Ngwenya has been our benchmark having played primarily in the MLS and then for Bayern Munich, so we’ve had some great players come through here. I’d put Ashton right up there with the best of them. I think he’s good enough. He can score goals and that for any team is a very valuable asset that a player could bring. He’s got a great shot, I think, to make it at the professional level.”
Prior to joining Carolina, Bennett spent two seasons with Cincinnati State Technical College. He scored 11 goals in 14 games in his freshman year.
Bennett was the Jamaica Premier League Most Valuable Player in 2007 while playing for Portmore United, which won the Premier league and knockout titles five years ago. He also led Garvey Maceo High School to the Under-16 championship in 2004.
Meanwhile, eight stadiums will see action for the first time in this year’s Confederation of North, Central American & Caribbean Associations of Soccer (CONCACAF) Gold Cup from July 7 to 28. They are the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, M & T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, the Sports Authority Field in Denver, East Hartford’s Rentschler Field, BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston, Sun Life Stadium in Miami, JELD-WEN Field in Portland and OR and Rio Tinto in Salt Lake City.
There are six new Gold Cup cities – Atlanta, Baltimore, Denver, Hartford, Portland and Salt Lake City – and Houston and Miami will host the tournament for the fifth and ninth consecutive time, respectively.
Canada, which won the regional tournament in 2000, is among 12 participants in the 12th biennial competition. The other competing countries are six-time champions Mexico, four-time winners the United States, Belize, Costa Rica, Cuba, El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Martinique, Trinidad & Tobago and Panama.