TFC does the right thing with Brennan, Dichio and Dasovic By Steven Sandor Posted on February 24, 2011 1 0 542 Share on Facebook Share on Twitter A great sports franchise does two things well; it honours tradition, while also pushing itself to be better in the present. When you think of the classiest franchises in North American sport, the Detroit Red Wings come to mind, you find a front office populated with former players. The old guard shows to the current class that if they remain loyal to the franchise, the franchise will look after them. They are a sign that the franchise is stable and that they’ll push the young charges to honour the uniform they are wearing by working their tails off. Now, from 2007 to 2010, there wasn’t much about Toronto FC that showed the club would ever have any kind of continuity. Players came and went. Coaches came and went — and none, frankly, ever did much to endear themselves to the fan base. But there are a few links to the past that needed to be preserved; to show that, despite all the losses that mounted up over the first four years, that the club, somewhere underneath that corporate glimmer of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, was building a soul. Wednesday’s decision to make Danny Dichio the coach of the senior TFC Academy squad, and to place Jim Brennan in charge of the junior Academy players, is a step in the right direction for this club. Brennan is the last player who appeared in the club’s first-ever MLS game — a road loss to Chivas USA — who still collects a paycheque from the team. He was the club’s first-ever All-Star. And, he’s a local product. Dichio, while not with TFC right from day one, arrived in time to score the club’s first ever goal, and endeared himself to the fan base in Toronto, which has always embraced the hard-working player no matter the sport. Dichio was as close to a true cult hero as the Toronto sports scene had in the 2000s. With Aron Winter coming in as the new technical director and head coach, there was recognition that, with all the change coming to the club — again — somewhere, there had to be a sign that the old guard wasn’t going to be completely shrugged off. Maybe even more important was the announcement that Nick Dasovic, put in the sorry position of inheriting the mess that Preki had left behind in his short but damaging tenure as the Reds’ coach, would be back in the fold, after all. A scouting job is the norm for deposed coaches who remain loyal servants to the clubs for which they work, but it saves face for a club that was rumoured to be parting ways to a man who was basically put into a Kobayashi Maru no-win situation in the final months of the 2010 season. It remains to be seen if Dichio and Brennan can make successful transitions to coaching. TFC Academy sent six players to the U-17 Canadian team that qualified for the World Cup, including forward Keven Aleman, who looks to be playing years above his age. Dichio and Brennan now inherit those charges — and must keep that development curve strong. Soon, academies will replace the draft system as the way MLS teams re-stock their rosters. It’s a big job. And, while TFC did well to embrace tradition by giving them the jobs, they can’t fall back on tradition if the Academy starts to slip.