Clement Simonin wins injury battle but loses out in bid to stick with Toronto FC

Toronto FC releases defender Clement Simonin

TORONTO — Clement Simonin won his injury battle. But the French defender lost out on his bid to stick with Toronto FC.

After two injury-plagued years, the 25-year-old came to camp this year as a trialist. The MLS team gave him starts in pre-season to make his case for a more permanent deal but eventually decided to cut him loose.

The MLS side did it via a tweet Tuesday. 

“Clement Simonin has been released from his trial with Toronto FC,” it said.

It seemingly marks the end of the TFC road for Simonin, a surprise first-round draft pick taken ninth overall in 2015. The North Carolina State product went largely under the radar after missing most of his senior year due to hernia surgery.

Toronto talked up the Frenchman and his cultured left foot.

Simonin made his Toronto debut in March 2015 against Real Salt Lake City, pressed into action because of injuries to the backline. He played just one league game since. His TFC resume reads 171 minutes played.

In the wake of a hard tackle in Salt Lake, he started feeling pain in his right knee. He underwent arthroscopic surgery on his meniscus in mid-April. A week after returning to training in July, he tore a different part of the same meniscus when someone fell on his leg making a tackle in practice. He eventually underwent more radical surgery in October.

Nine months later, he played one game with the reserves and tore the quad muscle in his other leg making a long pass. He was out for a couple of months, returning in time for the last TFC 2 game of the 2016 USL season.

He spent his Christmas break in France training, his body healed and his spirit soaring.

“Every day it was such a pleasure to just get to work,” he said during training camp in Florida. “I was thinking of this season and pre-season the whole time. The places I have been to in my head, coming back fully fit for pre-season, I cherish it so much. It’s super-special. I feel so good on the field. I feel so good off the field because of it. It’s a brand new start.”

And now it’s over.

Simonin can take heart from the fact that former Toronto roommate Daniel Lovitz, cut loose in December, signed with the Montreal Impact on Tuesday.

 

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Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press