Home MLS Toronto FC Timing was right for TFC coaching change: Anselmi

Timing was right for TFC coaching change: Anselmi


As Toronto FC players came onto the pitch Thursday morning for training, they knew something was afoot. Coach Aron Winter was nowhere to be seen.

The players soon found out the news that Winter had stepped down and that the team’s Director of Player Development, Paul Mariner, would take over as the new Head Coach and Director of Soccer Operations. But is that what really happened? It became clear that the move was basically a firing in disguise.

Winter and Tom Anselmi, the executive vice-president and chief operating officer for MLSE, had regular discussions about the direction of the club and a couple of days ago and it became clear to management that a change was needed.

When informed of the news, the Dutch coach was offered a technical role with the team and the opportunity to continue his work building the Academy but, not surprisingly, he declined. So reading between the lines, essentially in a polite way, an ultimatum was given. But when Anselmi was asked, he wouldn’t bite.

“The conversation about maybe it’s time to make a change and his deciding to step down was really the last couple of days and it was as simple as that,” said Anselmi. “But Aron stepped down, that’s formally how it happened but it was the result of a discussion of what was going on with the team – wasn’t working so therefore a change needed to be made.”

Considering the fact that the team was back on the upswing after clinching the Canadian Championship and picking up its first win of the year before the MLS break, the move comes as somewhat of a surprise. It would have made more sense to make the move when the club had started the year with an MLS record nine straight losses but, for Anselmi, he felt now was the perfect time.

“The timing was fortuitous given the players were on a break and just coming back. Paul has an opportunity to work with them for a week so that’s how it all came together.”

Mariner who has extensive experience in the MLS with the New England Revolution, will have a much simpler approach to managing the team — he’s not worried about playing a particular system. In fact he is sick of talking about systems — he’s going to use whatever works and expect his team to show their efforts on the pitch. He also feels that his current roster is good enough to have success right away.

“All it is, minor adjustments, that’s all it really is. It’s not a massive overhaul,” said Mariner. “I’m a pretty straightforward guy — what you see is what you get. The one thing that I think should be a given is that the players are running, working and trying.

“Every coach has his own philosophy so it’s not really for me to agree or disagree – there’s many, many ways to skin a cat. At this present moment we just got to change things a little bit. There’s only some minor adjustments that need to be made in my viewpoint.”


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One Comment

  1. Stefan Caunter

    June 8, 2012 at 6:09 am

    Here’s what I wrote last week. The press actually had the Anselmi in front of the cameras. Watch as he dodges questions passive-aggressively http://www.torontofc.ca/video/2012/05/29/tom-anselmi-may-29-2012
    “We’re in the job of trying to win games”. “Regular season in MLS is clearly a measuring stick of success”. By any evaluation, Anselmi fails hard. He hired Preki after a 10-11-9 2009 season, where the team was 3 points out of a playoff position, and lost the last 2 games of the season. Result: a 9-13-8 2010 season, 11 points out of a playoff position. Not great, but looking pretty good compared to this year. We still won a lot at home back then. He then fired Preki, who knew at least how to get league results. In 2011 with Winter, we were 6-13-15, and 13 points out of the playoffs. Six league victories last year. So far in 2012, the team is 1-9-0, currently 15 points out of 5th place in our conference. Why don’t any of these reporters for GOL, SUN ask why he isn’t getting fired? I mean, besides the obvious “getting free lunch” thing. Seriously, the media are doing a bad job on this. Anselmi has run a horrible soccer operation for 5+ years; I’m not inventing anything here, the record speaks for itself. 7 wins in the last 40 league games. As a supporter, I want real change, and I’m not looking at the coach or the players, I’m looking at the front office. Get soccer people running the show.

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