Home MLS Toronto FC TFC moves de Klerk from pitch, promotes Brennan

TFC moves de Klerk from pitch, promotes Brennan


Toronto FC announced two promotions on Monday. Bob de Klerk will move away from the coaches’ bench and will be the new technical manager for the club, while Jim Brennan moves from coaching the Academy ranks to the senior squad.

And, tacked into the body of Toronto FC’s press release was mention of an increased role for Director of Player Development Paul Mariner, who will have more of an on-field presence and work with the strikers.

Bob de Klerk

Brennan will join Jason Bent as men who have coached the Academy but moved up to become assistants with the senior squad.

According to TFC, “In this new role, de Klerk will be responsible for Toronto FC’s technical program, including advance and international scouting, as well as serving as the technical conduit between the First Team and Academy program. He will also assist players transitioning from the Academy into the First Team and support the education of Toronto FC coaches at all levels.”

But it was vital for TFC to get de Klerk away from the bench. His demeanour on the sidelines has become somewhat of a running joke in MLS. He has been dismissed for arguing calls. Last week, after TFC dispatched the Montreal Impact from the Amway Canadian Championship, he and members of the Jesse Marsch’s coaching staff got into an altercation. Referees are human: When they know that a member of TFC’s coaching staff has a penchant for being argumentative, it doesn’t help the Reds’ cause. And, after the Montreal incident, it’s clear that de Klerk needs to be away from the technical area during MLS matches.

Mariner has become the Teflon Don in the TFC mess. While coach and technical director Aron Winter gets the lion’s share of the headlines regarding the Reds’ 0-8-0 start to the season, Mariner gets little or no blame.


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  1. GAry

    May 15, 2012 at 7:43 pm

    You’ve missed the point, Stefanie.

  2. Stefan Caunter

    May 15, 2012 at 3:36 pm

    I posted this to the TFC website, but it’s totally relevant to your post.
    In some cultures, you publicly blame someone. TFC hasn’t done that since Tom Anselmi promised a playoff spot, then fired Preki when they couldn’t close the deal in 2009, instead of realizing that maybe you shouldn’t overpromise and underdeliver.
    Basically, that team was the closest thing to a decent league team we’ve seen in Toronto. Decent defending, horrible offense, but enough to win a few games. Still, fire Preki, the guy you proudly brought in after Mo Johnson wore out his welcome, a guy with issues, but with a working system that was appropriate for MLS.
    MLSE got sold a bill of goods by Winter and DeKlerk: in short, that MLS players can play attacking football (in a formation that few of them understand or can make work).
    Remember, the prevailing nonsense MLSE was selling at the time was that defense was boring. This was the prevailing concern of the fan base. No one accepted that TFC got close to the playoffs, they wanted to erase the embarassment of the failed playoff guarantee, and the problem was that Preki played a boring system. They promoted offensive, stylish, pretty football despite the fact that no one had played a game. It’s pretty obvious that without the right players (no one on the team buys into the system), this fails. Winter can get his players motivated for the CCL games, but there’s not much they can do about most MLS teams with a good system, suited to the general talent level, and focused on winning, not some unsuitable imported style.
    Similarly, this year, MLSE promoted defensive improvements before anyone had played a minute in the league, because they knew that was the main concern of the fan base. Compared to Preki, who knew the league and knew you needed a system, Winter is pushing a large rock up a steep hill.

    • Andre

      May 17, 2012 at 4:10 pm

      “…not some unsuitable imported style…” Is a totally erroneous comment. All soccer styles are imported, in case you have forgotten, Canada, and the U.S. are weird mixes of European everything, culturally, historically, and in terms of soccer. We have no national system of our own creation. Looking to Europe, we can see that neo-British 4-4-2 garbage is basic and outdated. Why mimic it? Barcelona, Ajax, the Spanish national team, Holland, and more, all use the 4-3-3 and they are all cultured and very successful programs. The problem is that people think that this kind of culture can happen overnight. It takes years. In Barcelona, Cruyff imposed that system, and thirty odd years later Barca, having followed it religiously with many years of abject faliure, is now the best team in the world. (I am not a Barca fan for the record). Have patience, the results will be seen in a few years, youth production chief among them. Impatience and poor understanding of the sport are what cause a team to never succeed. If TFC changes cultures every six months because its fan base does not understand the project, than it will never have a culture, nor a style, and can not succeed without one.

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