The highly touted teenaged striker turned down a chance to play at one of the top schools in the NCAA in order to sign for his hometown club.
TORONTO -- Lost amid the flurry of high-profile signings at Toronto FC, one of its brightest young lights inked a deal to join the club.
Not that it seems to bother Jordan Hamilton, who became TFC's latest homegrown player on Thursday just hours before the club's all-time leading goalscorer, Dwayne De Rosario, was formally re-introduced.
"It's an amazing feeling," Hamilton told Goal minutes after De Rosario's unveiling at BMO Field. "I've been working hard for four years in the academy now and it's [finally] come about, and I'm more than happy to take the opportunity."
The 17-year-old striker has made a name for himself at the youth levels for both club and country, and he most recently starred for Canada's U-17 side at last year's World Cup. A tall, strong player with soft feet, Hamilton's growing notoriety led him to be heavily recruited by several top schools in the U.S.
He had agreed to join the University of Maryland, coached by fellow Canadian Sasho Cirovski, but he says the chance to jump to the professional ranks in his hometown was too good to pass up.
"Sasho Cirovski is an amazing coach, I would say the best in the NCAA, and that factored in my decision to verbally commit there, but when you have an opportunity like this to learn alongside Dwayne De Rosario, who's the best all-time striker, maybe, in MLS, you don't come by that every day," Hamilton explained. "Maryland's a great school, it would have been a great experience to go there, but I've got to do what's best for my career."
In addition to the returning De Rosario, Hamilton joins a team which lists Tottenham Hotspur's Jermain Defoe, Brazilian striker Gilberto, and Nigerian international Bright Dike among its forward ranks, which could see the youngster struggling for first team playing time.
While he may get many more minutes this season with TFC's reported USLPro affiliate than the first team, Hamilton says he's prepared to do whatever it takes to get on the field for the big club.
"[Whenever] the coach feels necessary to put me in, if it's the first game I'll be ready, if it's the last game I'll be ready," he said. "I'll be more than happy to [earn] any opportunity I get, I've just got to work hard, get my head down, and strive for the best."