AUSTIN (KXAN) — To bolster the back line, Austin FC secured a former Major League Soccer defensive player of the year via trade Wednesday.

Matt Hedges, a 6-foot-4 central defender that won the league’s top defensive honor in 2016, will join the Verde and Black from Toronto FC. In return, Toronto receives $375,000 in 2024 general allocation money and up to $100,000 in 2025 general allocation money depending upon Hedges’ roster status on Jan. 1, 2024.

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After the trade was completed, Hedges signed a new contract With Austin through the end of the 2024 season with club options in 2025 and 2026.

Hedges was a regular in defense for Toronto this season, playing all 90 minutes in 10 matches with 13 starts. He’s in his 12th MLS season, spending the first 10 with FC Dallas. He was named to the MLS Best XI team in 2015 and 2016 and was named an MLS all-star from 2017-2019.

“We’re delighted to welcome Matt and his family to Austin and to Austin FC,” said Rodolfo Borrell, Austin FC sporting director. “He has consistently been one of the league’s best center backs for the last decade, and his talent and experience will be very valuable to the team.”

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Hedges is one of 25 players in MLS to play at least 27,000 career regular season minutes and he’s made five appearances for the USMNT from 2015-2017.

To make room for Hedges on the senior roster, Austin waived defender Amro Tarek and bought out his contract. According to the MLS Players Association’s salary database, Tarek’s contract was for $249,996. He was signed in January after playing for Egyptian side Al Masry FC, but played in one match for Austin FC, logging 66 minutes in a 3-0 loss to Violette FC in the opening leg of the Concacaf Champions League.