The 25-year-old New Zealand international joined Toronto FC on loan from A-League outfit Wellington Phoenix, where he just completed a 16-goal season.TORONTO -- Jeremy Brockie's route to Major League Soccer wasn't exactly normal.
The New Zealand international -- still under contract with the Wellington Phoenix of the Australian A-League -- got a call recently from his former national team captain and current Toronto FC head coach Ryan Nelsen looking for some temporary attacking help.
"He pretty much gave me a phone call and [asked] if I wanted to swap out a Wellington winter for a Toronto summer and come and score him some goals," Brockie told reporters at the TFC training ground after his first practice session on Tuesday. "It took me maybe about 10 minutes to convince my wife and then I rang him back and said I'm keen to come, and I'm here now."
The 25-year-old looks to make an immediate impact with a TFC side that is struggling at both ends of the pitch. Nelsen hopes that Brockie's ability to play various positions in the attack will help Toronto create and finish more chances -- something that the club is desperately in need of after a string of one-goal defeats and draws.
"He can play up front or out wide in a three [pronged attack], and up top as well," Nelsen said of his countryman. "It gives us a bit of versatility there. To be fair, Brocks is the kind of guy that you can throw him in anywhere and he'll put in a really good shift."
Asked where he prefers to play, Brockie was clear in his desire to get as close to the opposition goal as possible.
"I've just played my season [in the A-League] as an out-and-out striker," Brockie said. "I like to get in behind defenses and put myself about, run around, and hopefully get on the end of a few balls and put them in the back of the net."
If Brockie seems confident in his abilities, it's because he's coming off a standout campaign during which he netted 16 times in 24 A-League games. With that in mind, he hopes to be able to transition to the "next level" of MLS with relative ease.
"I've come off a pretty good season back in the A-League and I've still been training since our season finished, so it shouldn't take me too long to adapt to the boys and how they play," he said. "I'm looking forward to it."
Brockie also acknowledged that MLS tends to be a physical league, but he insisted that he can handle that part of the game.
"The A-League's pretty physical as well, so I think I'll be used to it," he said. "Obviously I've played a few international games as well, and they can get pretty physical too, so that doesn't really worry me."
As for his new team, the Kiwi forward has brought himself up to speed on TFC's dire situation and hopes that he can inject a bit of life into an attack that has only scored twice in its last four competitive fixtures.
"Obviously there's been a bit of bad luck in the previous couple of games," he said, referring to Toronto's continual late-game lapses, "So hopefully that turns pretty quickly and we can start getting some wins and move up the ladder."