Will Johnson (soccer)

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Will Johnson
Will Johnson - Canada - El Salvador July 7 2009.png
Will Johnson playing for Canada against El Salvador on July 7, 2009.
Personal information
Full name William David Johnson[1]
Date of birth (1987-01-21) 21 January 1987 (age 29)
Place of birth Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Height 1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)[2]
Playing position Midfielder
Club information
Current team
Toronto FC
Number 7
Youth career
1996–1998 Woodridge Storm
2003–2004 Blackburn Rovers
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2004 Chicago Fire Reserves 0 (0)
2005 Chicago Fire 6 (1)
2006–2008 Heerenveen 14 (1)
2007–2008 De Graafschap (loan) 26 (2)
2008–2012 Real Salt Lake 114 (9)
2013–2015 Portland Timbers 69 (15)
2015 Portland Timbers 2 (loan) 3 (0)
2016– Toronto FC 0 (0)
National team
2005–2007 Canada U20 32 (5)
2008 Canada U23 3 (3)
2005– Canada 39 (4)

* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of September 21, 2015.
† Appearances (goals)

‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 5 February, 2016

William David "Will" Johnson (born 21 January 1987) is a Canadian soccer player for Toronto FC in Major League Soccer and plays for the Canada national soccer team.

Club career[edit]


Johnson was born in Canada, but moved shortly afterwards to England where he started playing soccer, attending the Merchant Taylors' School in Crosby, near Liverpool. When he was 10 his family once again moved, this time to Woodridge, Illinois, and he played youth soccer for the Sockers FC Chicago[5]. Johnson later returned to England to play for the youth team of Blackburn Rovers in the 2003-04 season. However, after the season he left Blackburn and returned to Illinois. He was on the roster of Chicago Fire Reserves in the USL Premier Development League, but did not feature in any PDL games.

Chicago Fire[edit]

In 2005, Johnson was signed by the Chicago Fire as a discovery player. Johnson played most of the year for the reserve team but he did play in six games for the senior team, where he scored a goal. After the year the Fire offered him a $28,000 contract, which he rejected. Johnson then went on a trial with Heerenveen, which was successful, and they signed him to a one-year deal plus a club option for two more years.


He made 14 appearances, all as a sub, for Heerenveen in the 2006-2007 season, scoring the second goal in a 2-0 defeat of NEC Nijmegen on December 27, 2006. For the 2007-2008 season he was on loan to Doetinchem side De Graafschap, who were promoted as champions of the Dutch Eerste Divisie. Again he mostly made sub appearances and he returned to SC Heerenveen for the 2008-09 season. While back training in Heerenveen for preseason, Real Salt Lake offered Johnson a contract and a new opportunity which he accepted and decided to depart the Netherlands for the United States.

Real Salt Lake[edit]

Johnson signed with Major League Soccer on August 16, 2008. Chicago traded his rights to Real Salt Lake in return for a conditional 4th round pick in the 2009 MLS SuperDraft and a 2nd round pick in the 2011 MLS SuperDraft.[3]

Johnson won the MLS Goal of the Year in 2008 for a goal scored against FC Dallas on October, 18 in Rio Tinto Stadium. He was called up for the 2009 MLS All-Star Game against English Premier League side Everton. He was one of three players to score their penalties in the penalty shootout against American goalkeeper Tim Howard. He started and played 45 minutes for Real Salt Lake in the 2009 MLS Cup final against the Los Angeles Galaxy despite a bout with food poisoning, with his side ultimately winning in a penalty shootout.[citation needed]

Portland Timbers[edit]

Johnson was traded to the Portland Timbers on December 3, 2012 as part of a salary cap issue, along with the trade and release of six other players, including starters Jamison Olave, Fabian Espindola, and substitute Jonny Steele.[4] Johnson was named team captain by coach Caleb Porter on February 26, 2013 [6], former team captain Jack Jewsbury was renamed club captain. On March 30, 2013 Johnson scored his first goal for Portland against Colorado Rapids scoring both goals in 2-2 draw, he was awarded MLS player of the week for his performance.[5] Johnson was put on the 2014 MLS All Star roster. He was brought in at halftime, became captain at the 73rd minute after Landon Donovan was substituted, and at the 88th minute received a yellow card for a hard tackle on Bayern midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger, the latter received a bruised ankle and had to exit what would be his last game until November. A collision with a Toronto FC defender, early in the September 27, 2014 game, fractured the tibia and fibula in Johnson's right leg, ending his season early.[6]

Toronto FC[edit]

Johnson was traded to Toronto FC in exchange for a conditional second round pick in the 2017 MLS SuperDraft and targeted allocation money in December 2015.[7]

International career[edit]

In the summers of 2005 and 2007, Johnson played for the U-20 Canadian national team at the 2005 and 2007 World Youth Championships in the Netherlands and Canada respectively. Johnson also played very well for the Canada U-23 side during the 2008 CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Tournament. Johnson scored three goals in three games during the tournament. However, Canada failed to qualify for the Olympics after falling 3-0 to the United States in the semifinals.

He made his senior debut for Canada in a November 2005 friendly match against Luxembourg. By December 2009, he had earned a total of 10 caps, scoring no goals. He has so far represented Canada in two FIFA Tournaments[8] Johnson provided the assist to André Hainault winning goal against Belarus on March 29, 2011. He scored his first international goal in a World Cup Qualifying match against Saint Lucia on September 2, 2011.[9]

On June 27, 2013 Johnson was listed as a part of the confirmed 23-man squad for Colin Miller's Canada squad for the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup, making it his third consecutive Gold Cup.[10] Miller named Johnson as team captain for the tournament.[11][12]

On December 12, 2013 Johnson was awarded the Canadian Men's Player of the Year by the CSA for the first time of his career.[13] Johnson beat out two time winner Atiba Hutchinson who was voted second and Patrice Bernier in third for the award.[14]

After almost two years since his last call-up, during which he dealt with illness, injuries, and personal commitments, Johnson was recalled to the national team by Canada coach Benito Floro for 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification matches against Dominica on June 2, 2015.[15]

International goals[edit]

Goal Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition Ref.
1. September 2, 2011 BMO Field, Toronto, Canada  Saint Lucia 4–1 4–1 2014 FIFA World Cup qualification
2. August 15, 2012 Central Broward Regional Park, Lauderhill, United States  Trinidad and Tobago 2–0 2–0 Friendly match
3. October 12, 2012 BMO Field, Toronto, Canada  Cuba 2–0 3–0 2014 FIFA World Cup qualification
4. September 8, 2015 FFB Stadium, Belmopan, Belize  Belize 1–1 1–1 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification


Johnson's grandfather is Brian Birch who had a successful career with Bolton Wanderers, picking up an FA Cup winners medal in 1958.[16] Married Caroline Childs. The two have a daughter, Arabella Capri, born October 2012 and a son Jaxx Beckett, born September 5, 2014. Johnson also holds U.S. citizenship.[17]



Real Salt Lake
Portland Timbers


Club statistics[edit]

Club Season League League Playoff Cup Continental Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
United States Chicago Fire 2005 MLS 6 1 0 0 0 0 6 1
Netherlands Heerenveen 2006–07 Eredivisie 14 1 0 0 14 1
Netherlands De Graafschap (loan) 2007–08 Eredivisie 26 2 0 0 26 2
United States Real Salt Lake 2008 MLS 9 2 3 0 12 2
2009 26 1 4 0 30 1
2010 28 1 2 0 2 2 6 3 38 6
2011 25 2 3 0 2 0 6 0 36 2
2012 26 3 2 0 0 0 28 3
Club total 114 9 14 0 4 2 12 3 144 14
United States Portland Timbers 2013 MLS 28 9 4 2 3 0 35 11
2014 29 6 0 0 1 1 30 7
2015 12 0 1 0 2 1 15 1
Club total 69 15 5 2 5 1 1 1 80 19
Career total 229 28 19 2 9 3 13 4 270 37

Last updated on December 19, 2015

See also[edit]


External links[edit]

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Jack Jewsbury
Portland Timbers captain
Succeeded by