Happy Friday one and all!

 I want to comment upon a few new developments from today’s news.

  •          TFC’s announcement of plans for a new training facility
  • Club Academy Program – a great development
  • Two Leeds United Players linked to TFC are released
  • TFC are out west to play the best team so far this season in MLS on Saturday night

TFC Announces Plans for New training facility

Here is the video on Toronto FC TV today announcing that Toronto FC is looking for partners to develop and build a (in their words) state of the art training facility.

With BMO Field now converted to a grass pitch the community use aspect of the stadium now can’t be met without destroying the playing surface. This means that if constructed there will be at least two grass fields (and a small stadium for the Academy to play), three FieldTurf fields with 365 days availability with the installation of winter bubbles, and an indoor field enclosed within a field house. The plan is to use the facility as the permanent home of the Academy, TFC’s permanent training facility, and also cater to some of the community usage that now can’t be accommodated at BMO Field.

The “partners” aspect of the proposal is a little vague but it be targeted for example at a municipality that would be interested in offering land and/or funding. It could also be like the scenario for the Maple Leafs where MasterCard purchased naming rights to their new training facility last year.

Hopefully this announcement once and for all shuts up the MLSE naysayers who say they are not interested in spending money on their club. Questioning their hiring policies is a valid critique (Mo Johnston anyone???), but cheap they are certainly not.

Club Academy Program – A Great Development

Toronto FC also announced earlier today the creation of its Club Academy Program (CAP), which they envision a technical partnership with youth clubs in Ontario where youth players can benefit from access to the training regimes and facilities of the TFC Academy and possibly of course graduate 16 year olds into the Academy program directly if the kids are up to snuff. Clubs from Barrie, Thunder Bay, Ottawa and The Great Toronto Area for example have already signed up, which is really good to see. Kids in affiliated programs I guess will have a leg up in perhaps getting into the Academy.

It will be interesting to see if some of the more established clubs in Ontario see this as either a piece of good news for their players or TFC poaching their players.

Two Leeds United Players linked to TFC are released

The Yorkshire Evening Post newspaper is reporting today that frequently TFC linked striker Paul Dickov has been released by Leeds United in advance of the deadline for for the submission of retained lists of players to the league. Angolan International and centre back Rui Marques has also been released.

Marques was quoted in the paper as stating that he has been offered a deal by TFC but his immediate plans are to try and catch on somewhere in the English Championship level. Don’t hold your breath on him coming here TFC fans. Dickov I still feel is coming, and that his arrival is only a matter of time. I would not be surprised to see him in Toronto very soon. The debate has already begun on if he is a worthwhile addition. I think if he is offered a contract by TFC it will be only until the end of this season and that, if the money is right, it might be a good piece of business. He is no Thierry Henry (rumoured to be signing with New York) but he can in my estimation still play and his experience and professionalism could do wonders for the development of O’Brien White and Chad Barrett.

TFC v Galaxy

A big task on Saturday night as TFC goes west to play the undefeated and, so far this season, rampant LA Galaxy. Toronto’s two Slavic fullbacks (Hscanovic and Usanov) have struggled at times in 2010 and the pace and skill of players like Buddle and “Landycakes” Landon Donovan will likely give them fits. Preki has some choices at the back, but none of them without risk. He could go with the status quo and take his chances. Or, if fit, Dan Gargan could spell one of the fullbacks. Sam Cronin could be deputized to play fullback as well or maybe (gulp) Garcia could play with Cann in the centre of the defence and Attakora could play the fullback role.

In either respect it will be a mighty ask for Toronto to keep LA from running away with the game. TFC has shown on the last couple of games that the up front group of White and Barrett, with DeRo tucked in behind them can be lethal on the counter. If TFC is to get anything from this game it will probably come in this fashion. As I said before the RSL game, I would be over the moon with a draw.

I will be posting a video blog early on Sunday. Have a great weekend everybody.


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