High-scoring striker Jermain Defoe added another goal to his Premier-League tally on Saturday before flying to Canada on Sunday, where he officially joined Toronto FC.
The club welcomed the 31-year-old Defoe, as well as Michael Bradley, during a news conference on Monday.
Toronto rapper Drake is being praised for helping persuade Defoe — who has represented England at 55 matches, including the 2010 World Cup — to make the move across the pond. But Tottenham teammate Ryan Nelsen — who now manages TFC — may have also had something to do with the decision.
“In life, sometimes, when a massive opportunity comes your way, it’s not always easy to to leave your hometown or the club you’ve been here for nine years,” Defoe said at the news conference.
“To come here and have a reception like this is unbelievable. I feel at home.”
Defore has played at Tottenham for nine years but he made his debut at West Ham United when he was 18.
He is the 14th-highest goalscorer in Premier League history and the fifth-highest goalscorer in Tottenham’s history.
Here’s a look back at his career and his move to Toronto.
1997: Defoe joins Charlton Athletic’s Youth Team.
1999: Moves to West Ham.
September 2000: Professional debut at West Ham (against Walsall); scores the team’s only goal in 1-0 victory.
2000: Loan to Bournemouth for a season where he scored a goal in 10 straight games.
2003-2004 season: Sold to Tottenham Hotspurs.
January 2008: Sold to Portsmouth.
January 2009: Defoe returns to Tottenham, where he remains for nine years.
September 2013: Establishes the Jermain Defoe Foundation, which supports homeless, vulnerable and abused children in St. Lucia.
Jan. 13, 2014: TFC announces that Defoe has joined the club. The move is effective Feb. 28.