Photo by ISIPhotos.com
By DAN KARELL
Arguably the lone bright spot in a dismal 2013 season for Toronto FC has agreed to stay as the team builds for the future.
Starting goalkeeper Joe Bendik put pen to paper on Tuesday on what the club calls a “multi-year” contract. Per league and team policy, full terms of the contract were not disclosed.
Bendik stepped in at the start of the 2013 season in place of the injured Stefan Frei and kept his place in the side the rest of the season, making 33 league starts and producing four shutouts. The 24-year-old Clemson product’s only professional experience prior to this season had been a five-game spell with the Portland Timbers in 2012 and a handful of games in Norway in 2010 and 2011 with Sogndal, yet he defied almost all expectations to put together a solid season.
“Joe had an opportunity to step-in and prove himself this season and he did so in a big way. He’s still a relatively young keeper who showed he has the ability and mentality to handle a full season of MLS play. We are excited to watch him continue to develop his skills and be a leader on our re-shaped roster next season,” said TFC general manager Tim Bezbatchenko in a statement. “We are confident that we have addressed our goalkeeper situation for the upcoming season, while adding increased roster and cap flexibility in the process.”
With the new contract, Bendik will surely be handed a pay raise after playing on a contract that paid him a base salary of $46,500 per season. Bendik was acquired prior to the 2013 season along with a first round draft pick and allocation money in exchange for Milos Kocic and Ryan Johnson.
Just prior to announcing Bendik’s signing, TFC dealt the out-of-contract Stefan Frei’s rights to the Seattle Sounders in exchange for a first round pick in the 2015 MLS SuperDraft.
What do you think of this news? Glad to see Bendik sign a new contract? Expect him to improve even more next season?
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