After a year away from the game, former Toronto FC defender Adrian Cann is ready to resume his career as a San Antonio Scorpion in the North American Soccer League.
The 10-team, second-tier NASL, which includes FC Edmonton and the expansion Ottawa Fury FC, kicks off its spring season this weekend. The Scorpions host Minnesota United in one of four games Saturday.
Released by Toronto following the 2012 season after an injury-plagued stint with the MLS team, the 33-year-old Cann elected to take some time off "to see where I am with the game, reassess my life."
"Because I've been playing for so long. It was a time in my life where I had to just step away for a bit to see where I'm at."
He kept Toronto as his base but he and his girlfriend used some of the time to travel, spending time in Europe and the U.S.
"It was good to finally get some down time, maybe catch up on life," he said. "Sometimes you get caught up in the game so much, you kind of overlook important things in your life such as family and friends.
"It was nice to kind of catch up with everyone."
After reflection, he concluded he still had the "urgency to compete and win something."
Scorpions coach Alan Hankinson had reached out to Cann previously but he wasn't ready.
Canadian Alen Marcina, an assistant under Hankinson who is now head coach, tried Cann again and got a positive response. Marcina and Cann have some history together having played in Vancouver.
So far Cann has enjoyed his time in the Texas heat.
The San Antonio roster includes fellow Toronto FC alumni Eric Hassli and Julius James. Hassli, a former designated player with Toronto, Vancouver and FC Dallas, owns a ranch in Frisco, Texas.
Canadian midfielder Shaun Saiko, a former Middlesbrough youth player and FC Edmonton player, is also a Scorpion.
Also on the roster is midfielder Walter Restrepo, traded to San Antonio from Fort Lauderdale last year in a deal that reportedly included hotel and transportation arrangements for the Florida club's trip to Texas.
Other Scorpions of note include American-born El Salvador international Richard Menjivar.
San Antonio finished the pre-season undefeated (4-0-3).
Cann, who played 48 games for Toronto from 2010 to 2012, says he holds no hard feelings toward his former club.
"At the same time a little disappointed," he said of how it all ended. "It's my home city and a great organization to be a part of."
After being named TFC's player of the year in 2010 when he played 26 games, Cann's 2011 season started with a salary dispute and ended prematurely when he tore his anterior cruciate ligament in training. The injury hampered him for much of the 2012 season as well.
He saw action in 12 games in 2011 and just 10 in 2012.
The six-foot-three defender was originally drafted by the Colorado Rapids in the second round -- 16th overall -- of the 2004 MLS SuperDraft out of the University of Louisville. He saw limited action in just two games for the Rapids before joining the pre-MLS Montreal Impact in 2004 and the Vancouver Whitecaps in 2006.
Cann spent two seasons in Denmark with Esberg FB before signing in Toronto.
While Cann had a roller-coaster ride with Toronto FC, he usually had a smile on his face.
"That's just part of the whole story," he said philosophically. "If you didn't have the ups and downs, then I guess you wouldn't know when you experience good times.
"I take the good with the bad."