” I was up against giants. One actual giant in Jozy – the other a little smaller, but a giant in his playing.”

Tosaint Ricketts talks TFC, the Whitecaps and beyond on Footy Talks Live.

In yesterday’s Footy Talks Live, Luke KJ and Stevie had the chance to catch up with former TFC striker Tosaint Ricketts. Now at Vancouver Whitecaps and sidelined though injury, the crew quizzed Tosaint on his part in TFC’s record breaking 2017 season, and on the pressures of making an impact from the bench, in what many regard as the greatest MLS side in history:

‘When we came back in 2017 preseason I remember speaking with Michael Bradley the first day and he said ‘we’re winning it this year’, and that was the mentality from day one. Although we were winning games and going on streaks the mentality never changed. It was just business. We’d get in the dressing room – there’s celebrations, there’s cheers but it’s onto the next one and that was the whole run to the end. We were a focused, mature group, with quality players and depth on the bench and everything just aligned for us. It was a very special season and I think one of the best team’s I’ve played for.’ 

‘Being up there with Jozy and Seba – they’re world class players in my opinion and they provided me with so many options, so many goal scoring opportunities, just from the defenders they track, from the trickiness of Seba and his ability. It was a dream to play with those two and it showed in the goals and and performances we put on together’

‘At times you have to be realistic with yourself as a professional. You have to always maintain your mentality and that’s what kept me always prepared, always waiting for any opportunity you get. Because in my eyes I was up against giants – one actual giant in Jozy and the other one a little smaller but a giant in his playing. But yeah it’s just mentality. I was realistic with the situation I knew that I would get my minutes here and there – I just had to make the most of it and that’s what I did in Toronto.’

After leaving TFC to play in the European topflight, Ricketts caught the eye of the Whitecaps and accepted an offer to return to Major League Soccer. It was a fruitful journey and Ricketts speaks highly of the experience, and of his new opportunity in Vancouver:

‘It’s been great. I came from Lithuania – a place I went for the opportunity to play in Europa League and Champions League qualifications. It served its purpose – I went there and scored goals and got picked up by Vancouver and since I’ve been here it’s been fantastic. The organization has been great. The changes in the front office with Axel Schuster and Marc Dos Santos still getting into the role and still trying to make the team he wants. It’s been nice to be a part of. It’s a very young team – a lot of new players […] and although we lost the first two games you can see that hunger from the group and the desire to keep going even when their backs are against the wall. Even when San Jose were pushing back on them. It’s a group with a lot of character and I’m happy to be here as a leader in this group.’

With Ayo Akinola scoring goals and making headlines in Orlando, and Ricketts had this to say about his Former TFC teammate:

‘You see a maturity and a growth. From my time, I think Ayo just signed when I was there, he’s a young player, he has the physical capabilities. I see him being compared to Jozy in a lot of ways in terms of the way he moves and the way he uses his body. It’s nice to see. I’m a fan of young players. I love to see them do well, and the two performances he put in have been very mature and his goals have been class. I’m happy for him and I hope he keeps going.’

Edwin Tubb