Another Coaching Change? – And 2 DP’s?
This is a move we have seen before. In 2008 when Mo Johnston moved upstairs as GM he hired John Carver to replace him as bench boss. That was the first time in this team’s short history that we saw a head coach fire himself and move full time into his other position that he already held with this team. Looks like this is happening again.
If reports are to be believed Toronto FC will be announcing before game time Wednesday afternoon that current bench boss Aron Winter is stepping down and is to continue with TFC as Technical Director. His deputy Bob De Klerk will be promoted and as of Wednesday evening steps in as the seventh head coach in TFC’s four and half seasons of existence.
Essentially Aron Winter is pulling a “Mo” and if the rumours are to be believed he is making this choice of his own volition.
Well respected Toronto football journalist Kristian Jack of The Score TV Network is reporting that this was announced to the players last week and that the players reportedly did not have much of an obvious reaction to the news. If you have ever been to a TFC practice session, and the open practice last week was another vivid example of it, Bob De Klerk was the guy running the on field show anyways. On the bench during games he as always the more animated of the two and is arguably the more experienced of the two Dutchmen when it comes to leading players from the touchline. On its face I am not too bothered with the move considering that there will not be much of any upheaval with the players on the pitch and the tactical work they have all done together for the last five months will not be lost in any way with this change. A move like “Winter to de Klerk” is not as radical a switch as say “Winter to Preki” would be.
One thing on first blush that does bother me is the fact that it took Jurgen Klinsmann and Tom Anselmi a hundred precious days after Mo/Preki were fired to find a candidate in Aron Winter a new head coach that had never coached before and who now after only twenty league and cup games he decides to leave his coaching job and move permanently upstairs. When he was announced as head coach and technical director by MLSE back in January the club and its high priced consultant spoke about how after an exhaustive search Aron was to them the guy that could lead the club on and off the field to respectability and success over the long term. With due respect to them what it now looks like is that they hired a man who probably wanted the technical director job more than anything else and who perhaps thought that the coaching aspect of things would be a bit easier than it has been. I think Aron Winter is more than qualified to be technical director of TFC and to continue in that role over the long term. But I think it can only be looked at as yet another black eye on the organization that a man they appointed as coach after a more than three month search chooses to relinquish that job after only half a season.
Much more on this story will come as we hear what he and the team say about it over the coming days and as we hear from Winter himself as to his motivations.
The other huge piece of news that will likely announced today before the Vancouver game is the imminent arrival and signing of two Designated Players in former German International midfielder Torsten Frings and Dutch striker Danny Koevermans. Both players have been long rumoured to be linked to TFC and will be available to play for the Reds once the transfer window opens up next month. Frings has represented his country and has played at the highest levels of the sport including a World Cup final game and for many years in the German league. Koevermans is a strong big striker, who if he can stay healthy could be very successful in a league like MLS that puts a premium on that kind of player. And scoring at a rate of just a little over one goal every two games in a league like the Dutch Eredivisie definitely speaks to his quality and pedigree.
TFC has the cap and allocation room to make this happen as both are rumoured to be signing Designated Player deals. Whether this hastens the rumoured exit of Julian de Guzman will of course remain to be seen. Technically TFC can have three DP’s under contract at any given time assuming they have the cap and allocation space to make this happen. If you believe that Toronto FC has somewhere on the 700-800k cap/allocation space available then these two signings still give the club some space to sign some help at the back which is far and away the team’s most urgent need.
Perhaps the timing of the coaching announcement this afternoon might again seem to be a bit odd, but if they also use the very same press conference to announce the signings of two hugely talented European stars at the same time it will allow some of the more negative questions they might receive from the media to be balanced off by some nice photos of these two wonderful players holding up TFC jerseys with their names on them.
Hopefully all this upheaval today has a positive impact on the pitch this evening.