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January 27, 2014
Toronto deals Eckersley to Red Bulls for 2017 4th-round MLS SuperDraft pick

Richard Eckersley is expected to battle Kosuke Kimura (above)  for the starting right fullback spot this season.
Richard Eckersley is expected to battle Kosuke Kimura (above) for the starting right fullback spot this season.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
It's official. The Red Bulls Monday announced they had acquired defender Richard Eckersley from Toronto FC in exchange for the team's natural 2017 MLS SuperDraft fourth round pick.

The 6-foot, 169-lb. Eckersley will be added to New York’s roster pending P-1 Visa approval and after he passes a team physical. reported Saturday that that the Englishman would be joining the Red Bulls via a trade.

Eckersley can play at any of the three defensive spots, whether it is on the right or left flanks or in the middle as well. With the team obtaining left-sided midfielder-defender Bobby Convey from Toronto last month for some more depth and cover on that side of the field, Eckersley probably will be slotted on the right side to battle Kosuke Kimura for a starting position.

“We were impressed with Richard’s play at Toronto FC and are delighted to acquire him. He has a good soccer brain and is an energetic defender who can also provide positive attacking qualities on the flanks,” Red Bulls sporting director Andy Roxburgh said in a statement. “Richard will immediately provide another solid and versatile option for us on our backline and will certainly compete for a starting role on our team.”

Eckersley moved to Major League Soccer when he joined Toronto FC on loan from English team Burnley in April 2011. He was a consistent face on Toronto’s backline over the last three seasons, appearing in 72 matches and being named to Toronto’s starting lineup 70 times. He appeared in 16 games for Toronto last season, all of which were starts.

He started his career at Manchester United’s academy program. He then progressed to Manchester United’s reserve side in 2007 and made two first team appearances from 2007-09. The 24-year-old earned the first medal of his career when he was named to the 18-man roster for United’s League Cup Final victory over Tottenham Hotspur in March 2009.

Eckersley earned $310,000 with Toronto FC in 2013, according to the Major League Soccer Players Union, so it wouldn't be surprising if the Red Bulls renegoiated his contract prior to the trade.

Eckersley signed with Burnley in July 2009 and was part of loan deals at English clubs Plymouth Argyle (2010), Bradford City (2011) and Bury (2011).
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