Home Canadian Soccer TFC’s 4-3-3 philosophy bleeding into junior ranks

TFC’s 4-3-3 philosophy bleeding into junior ranks

Comments Off on TFC’s 4-3-3 philosophy bleeding into junior ranks

The evidence of Aron Winter’s top-down approach to remaking Toronto FC isn’t only seen in the first team’s adoption to the pass-and-move 4-3-3 system. The effects are being felt all the way down to the junior feeder programs that send talent to TFC Academy.

“Basically, the club (TFC) has a philosophy, now,” said Michael Stefano, technical director of the West Toronto United FC program, which is the first within the city’s borders to become an official affiliate of the TFC Youth Academy Program. “The club now has an identity, and let’s run with it.”

West Toronto United has met the standards set by TFC, to nurture young players so they could potentially transition into the Academy set-up. That means the clubs have to share similar philosophies and training methods. Stefano met with junior academy coach Jim Brennan and academy director Stuart Neely and was impressed at how dedicated they are to implementing Winter’s Dutch philosophy at every level of the club.

“Under Jim Brennan, the juniors are adhering to a different system,” said Stefano. “The club has a different vision on how it wants to play the game, and it trickles all the way down.”

West Toronto United had been pursuing an affiliation with TFC since 2010, before Winter took over as technical director of the Reds. But, West Toronto was made a confirmed partner in April, after Winter took over.

According to West Toronto United, “The goal of the newly launched program is to provide a stable and continuous path of development for young, elite players from their introduction to the game to full-time professionals with Toronto FC. Working in coordination with the Toronto FC Academy, the CAPs will demand a premium level of training that will allow for involved players, ages 7 to 16, to be monitored and scouted in hopes of joining the Toronto FC Academy as full-time members.”

TFC hasn’t always been the object of affection from local youth organizations. When the Academy was launched in 2008, there was push back from many local soccer clubs, some which reportedly urged their players to not make the move to the youth wing of the region’s MLS team.

But, having graduated six players to the first team — despite going through a plethora of systems and management styles — the Academy is now entrenched as a part of the Ontario youth soccer community. And, being able to implement Winter’s philosophy right from the first time a prospect slips on a TFC Academy jersey will help the program grow in the eyes of other associations in the area.

“TFC picked us because we have a very professional attitude at our club, and that we are synced with the Dutch mentality the club has implemented. It’s important that even the under-17s know the details of the 4-3-3, the possession game, keeping the ball on the ground.

“Stuart Neely deserved a lot of credit for making the transition so smooth. He has made the move a lot easier than it could have been.”

Load More Related Articles
Load More By Charles
Load More In Canadian Soccer
Comments are closed.

Check Also

Ethics, hypocrisy and money: Real Salt Lake dispute a perfect example of the media’s slippery slope

Now, wait a second here. It is a conflict for someone to cover an MLS team but also be inv…