Total football is coming to Toronto this season, thanks to newly-appointed Head Coach and Technical Director Aron Winter and his new management team. Winter will be Toronto FC’s sixth head coach, as the team heads into its fifth MLS season.
It has been a tumultuous four years for Toronto FC as the revolving door of coaches and G.M.’s goes round and round. Every year since the franchise broke into the league, MLSE has made announcements of firings and hirings of coaches. Finally last fall, the man who was in charge of making those coaching changes — Mo Johnston — was shown the door.
This time around — with the help of German international Juergen Klinsmann — the club hopes to get it right. Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment C.O.O. Tom Anselmi says there’s pressure to please the 20-thousand faithful who come out every game in support of a team that hasn’t been able to get into the playoffs since the “model franchise” joined the league.
Call me optimistic but it seems TFC has finally got the right team of front office staff, who looked confident in front of a packed news conference, answering questions about a franchise that had hit rock bottom in the way it handled business on and off the field.
Director of Player Development Paul Mariner brings MLS experience to the club. In his six seasons in New England, his teams made the playoffs every year while reaching the finals in three consecutive seasons. Winter and Assistant Coach Bob De Klerk will be in tough as they try and develop a style of soccer not seen in Toronto and will need an upgrade in personnel to do so. With just over two months until the start of the year, they know it will be a challenge.
Meanwhile, the head coach — a Dutch international and former Ajax midfielder — says he wants to develop a system which will see three strikers up front with plenty of ball movement… a style he says fits the way he envisions his team playing. Winter has played in three World Cups with Netherlands and four European Championships… so the pressure and challenges presented to him in Toronto should be a piece of cake.