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Reunited with Jason Kreis, Donny Toia is Excited for Fresh Start with Orlando City

Donny Toia has reunited with his old head coach at Orlando City and he’s ready to show the coach what he’s got.

MLS: Montreal Impact at Orlando City SC Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Donny Toia’s Major League Soccer career started almost seven years ago under Jason Kreis, who was then the head coach of Real Salt Lake, when the Tuscon native was announced as the club’s first ever Homegrown signing in 2011.

Now, in 2017, Toia is reunited with his former head coach after an Expansion Draft day trade with Atlanta United brought the 24-year-old defender to the Sunshine State.

Toia was picked up by Atlanta first overall in the December Expansion Draft with Minnesota United before Orlando City acquired him for the club’s eighth overall pick in last week’s MLS SuperDraft.

“Well, first I found out that I was going to Atlanta, so I was pretty excited, and then I got a phone call a couple of hours later saying I was traded to Orlando, so I was even more excited,” Toia said to reporters following Tuesday’s training session. “It’s very exciting, and I think it was the right move. I was trying to get out of Montreal — it just wasn’t right for me — and I was able to get out of there, and now I’m in the States.”

Toia joined RSL in 2011, but didn’t stay with the club very long, having been cut early in 2012 after just one year in which he didn’t make a single appearance for Kreis and the first team. He spent two years bouncing around the lower divisions before landing back in MLS with Chivas USA, and then Montreal in 2015.

Toia is now in Orlando, again with Kreis, and is trying to win a spot on the Lions’ deep back line, battling with Victor “PC” Giro for the starting left back job this preseason.

“I’ve spoken to Jason a little bit, and they were very interested in me — he was my head coach when I first came into the league, so I knew a little bit about him and he’s the one who actually converted me to a defender,” Toia said.

“It’s the second day, so we’ll have to see,” he said about the competition. “But like I said, [Kreis] was the first one to bring me in and I was very thankful for that. And now that he’s brought me back, it’s a positive for both sides and now I’ve just got to work hard and prove that I’m the defender that he saw when he was looking at me.”