TUCSON, Ariz. – FC Tucson announced on Thursday the return of Tucson legend and veteran Major League Soccer defender, Donny Toia, pending league and federation approval.
"There was an opportunity for him to play and give back to his home club and contribute to the team," said FC Tucson Head Coach Jon Pearlman. "I'm excited to have him, and he's very excited to be playing here and playing with me again."
Toia graduated from Canyon del Oro High School just north of Tucson after leading the Dorados to a pair of state championships. He played six years for Tucson Soccer Academy and Pearlman, and was a standout at Pima Community College.
Toia was on the inaugural FC Tucson team in 2012 when he scored the team's first goal in a 2-1 loss to Fresno Fuego FC on May 5. He also etched his name in club lore with the lone goal in the team's first home game on May 19 in a 1-0 win over Southern California Seahorses at Kino North Grandstand.
Toia led FC Tucson with six goals in the PDL (now USL League Two) and was the catalyst for an 11-match unbeaten run across all matches.
"He has a large skill set. He can score goals, defend and play multiple positions," Pearlman said. "He embodies that Tucson spirit and love for the community and logo. He's always had that lead-by-example quality that's key for the rest of the team."
Following his year in Tucson, he went on to play with Phoenix FC in USL Pro. He was named the league's Rookie of the Year in 2013.
Toia was the first Homegrown Player signed by MLS side Real Salt Lake in 2011 and went on to play for Chivas USA, Montréal Impact and Orlando City SC, before returning to RSL between 2019 and 2021. He appeared in 190 matches and accumulated more than 15,700 minutes across four MLS clubs.
Notably, he played for Montréal on the 2015 team that reached the Concacaf Champions League Final before falling to Liga MX's Club América. He was also selected first overall in the 2016 MLS Expansion Draft by Atlanta United FC, after which he was promptly traded to Orlando City SC for the eighth overall pick in the 2017 MLS SuperDraft.
"Tucson is a big family, with everyone coming together to support each other," Donny Toia said. "I'm ready to play and I look forward to giving 100% on the pitch for the coaching staff, the players and, most importantly, the community."