FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The New England Revolution has acquired two-time MLS All-Star midfielder Juan Toja (pronounced TOE-ha) through Major League Soccer’s Allocation Process. The Colombian will be officially added to the Revolution’s roster upon the receipt of his International Transfer Certificate and his U.S. P-1 Visa. Once he is added to the roster, he will count as an international player.
Toja, 27, who spent the 2007 season and the first half of the 2008 season playing with FC Dallas, signed with MLS on August 23, and as a former league player who was sold to a foreign club, was available to teams through the Allocation Process. The Revolution was ranked first in the current order, which is based on recent performance.
Toja, a left-footed attacker, is naturally an attacking midfielder, but can also play deeper centrally or on the left wing.
“We’re pleased to add a player of Juan’s skill and experience through the Allocation Process, and we’re looking forward to getting Juan in with the team as soon as possible,” General Manager Michael Burns said. “He’s not only played in MLS and is familiar with the league, but he’s also been very successful in MLS. We believe he’ll be a valuable player for us.”
Toja originally entered MLS in February 2007 on loan to FC Dallas from Colombia’s Independiente de Santa Fe after he played the 2006 season on loan with Argentine power River Plate. Toja began his professional career with Independiente de Santa Fe in early 2004 after a stint with the club’s Under-19 team. He made 25 appearances in two seasons with Santa Fe’s senior team and became a regular on the Colombian Under-20 team. He was a key member of the team that won the 2005 South American Youth Championship and participated in the 2005 FIFA World Youth Championship in Holland.
With Dallas, Toja made 43 regular-season appearances between 2007 and 2008, scoring eight goals and adding three assists. In 2007, he made 27 appearances, scoring six goals and recording two assists while earning MLS All-Star honors midseason, in addition to FC Dallas’ most valuable player award at season’s end. Following the season, Dallas bought Toja to make his move to MLS permanent. In 2008, Toja made 16 appearances and scored two goals and added two assists en route to his second MLS All-Star nod, before transferring to Romania’s Steaua Bucuresti on August 1, 2008, ahead of the 2008-09 European season.
Toja spent 18 months in Romania with Steaua Bucuresti, making 51 appearances while scoring three goals and adding five assists.
Upon arriving in Romania, he helped Steaua Bucuresti earn a spot in the 2008-09 UEFA Champions League group stage. Steaua Bucuresti was drawn into a group with Germany’s Bayern Munich, France’s Lyon and Italy’s Fiorentina, and went 0-5-1 to bow out of the tournament as Toja made five total appearances in those matches.
He also made eight total appearances for Steaua Bucuresti in the 2009-10 UEFA Europa League, scoring one goal, as the club advanced to the group stage with Turkey’s Fenerbahce, France’s Twente and Moldova’s Sheriff Tiraspol before being knocked out with an 0-2-4 record.
In the summer of 2010, Toja was transferred from Steaua Bucuresti to Greece’s Aris Thessaloniki, where he made 37 appearances and scored one goal before departing the club this summer. He also made 11 total appearances in the 2010-11 UEFA Europa League with Aris, helping the team advance to the knock-out rounds. After winning two qualification rounds, Aris finished second in its group – which also included Germany’s Bayer Leverkusen, Spain’s Atletico Madrid and Norway’s Rosenborg – with a 3-2-1 record. Aris dropped its round-of-32 match-up against Ukraine’s Dynamo Kyiv.
After a successful run with Colombia’s youth national teams, Toja has also earned two caps with the Colombia National Team, both coming in 2008. He made his senior team debut on Oct. 15, 2008, against Brazil in Rio de Janeiro in a World Cup Qualifier match – a 0-0 draw – and was later capped against Nigeria on Nov. 20, 2008.
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TRANSACTION: New England Revolution (MLS) – Acquired M Juan Toja through the Allocation Process
Full Name: Juan Carlos Toja Vega
DOB: May 24, 1985 (Bogota, Colombia)
Hometown: Bogota, Colombia
Weight: 175 lbs.
Previous Club: Aris Thessaloniki (GRE)
Jersey Number: TBA