Toronto FC added to its defence Tuesday by signing former Italian youth international Raoul Petretta from Turkey's Kasimpasa Spor Kulubu.
Toronto used targeted allocation money to sign the 25-year-old through 2025 with an option for 2026.
Petretta fills the void left by fellow Italian Domenico Criscito, who left after the 2022 season to rejoin his former club Genoa.
Petretta, whose parents are originally from Italy, joined Kasimpasa in July and appeared in 12 matches across all competitions. Before that he spent four seasons in Switzerland with FC Basel, making 152 appearances with 10 goals and 12 assists in all competitions.
During his time with Basel, Petretta saw action in the UEFA Champions League, Europa League and Europa Conference League and won the Swiss Super League (2016-17) and the Swiss Cup (2016-17 and 2018-19).
“Raoul is an experienced young left-back who established himself in a strong European club and has gained experience playing at a high level in European competitions with FC Basel,” Bob Bradley, Toronto's head coach and sporting director, said in a statement.
“He is a smart passer, disciplined defender, and has the work rate to get up and down the left flank consistently. We are excited to have him join Toronto FC and strengthen our backline.”
Born in Rheinfelden, Germany, Petretta started his career with Basel in 2005, rising through the youth ranks to make his pro debut in April 2017.
The five-foot-nine 152-pounder made his debut with the Italian under-21 team in a friendly against Portugal in May 2018.
Petretta, who joined TFC at its training camp in San Diego on Tuesday, joins defender Matt Hedges and forward Adama Diomande as newcomers this season. Toronto has also brought back attacking midfielder Victor Vazquez, who left the team in January 2019 to join a club in Qatar before returning to MLS with the Los Angeles Galaxy.
MLS teams can use targeted allocation money to sign a new player provided his salary and acquisition costs are more than the league's maximum salary budget charge, which was US$612,500 last season.
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This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 24, 2023.
Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press