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Defender Lukas MacNaughton joins Toronto FC after CPL title run with Pacific FC

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Toronto FC continued to rebuild its roster Tuesday, acquiring defender Lukas MacNaughton from Canadian Premier League champion Pacific FC for an undisclosed transfer fee.

MacNaughton, who joined TFC at its California training camp last week, is signed through 2023 with options for 2024 and 2025.

“Lukas played a key role in Pacific FC’s CPL championship in 2021 and we are very excited that he will now join Toronto FC,” Toronto head coach and sporting director Bob Bradley said in a statement.

The 26-year-old MacNaughton joins fellow newcomers Shane O'Neill, Luca Petrasso, Deandre Kerr and Greg Ranjitsingh on the first-team roster. Italian star Lorenzo Insigne is slated to join the MLS club in July as a designated player once his contract with Napoli expires.

Some 14 players from the 2021 first-team squad have moved on as Bradley revamps a team that went a dismal 6-18-10 last season. And more moves are expected.

While born in New York City and raised in Belgium, MacNaughton is coming home to Toronto. The six-foot-one 185-pounder played for the University of Toronto from 2013 to 2017, earning Ontario University Athletics (OUA) East first-team all-star honours from 2014 to 2017.

MacNaughton, who holds Canadian citizenship, captained U of T and also saw action as a defensive midfielder there. 

MacNaughton made 29 appearances with two goals and an assist for Pacific last year. In three seasons with the Vancouver Island club, MacNaughton made 59 appearances in CPL and Canadian Championship play with five goals and one assist.

Prior to joining the CPL, he played in League1 Ontario with Alliance United and the North Toronto Nitros.

MacNaughton is not the first player to leave Pacific since it dethroned defending champion Forge FC in December.

Terran Campbell, Pacific's all-time leading scorer, and Alessandro Hojabrpour, named the league’s top under-21 player last season, have both joined Hamilton-based Forge in the off-season. And coach Pa-Modou Kah has left to take over North Texas SC, an MLS Next Pro franchise that is owned and operated by FC Dallas.

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This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 25, 2022.

Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press