|Full name||Toronto Football Club|
|Owner||Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment|
|General Manager||Tim Bezbatchenko|
|League||Major League Soccer|
2nd (MLS Cup finalists)
|Website||Club home page|
|Active teams of Toronto FC|
|TFC||TFC II||TFC III||Academy|
Toronto Football Club, commonly referred to as Toronto FC or simply TFC, is a Canadian professional soccer club based in Toronto, Ontario. The club competes in Major League Soccer (MLS) as a member of the Eastern Conference. The club plays its home matches at BMO Field, located at Exhibition Place on Toronto's shoreline.
Toronto FC began play in 2007 as an expansion team, and was the first Canadian based franchise in the league. The team is coached by Greg Vanney and operated by Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, which also operates the National Hockey League's Toronto Maple Leafs, the American Hockey League's Toronto Marlies, the National Basketball Association's Toronto Raptors (and the NBA G League's Raptors 905 by extension) and the United Soccer League's Toronto FC II.
- 1 History
- 2 Stadium
- 3 Club culture
- 4 Ownership
- 5 Players and staff
- 6 Youth development
- 7 Broadcasting
- 8 Honours
- 9 Record
- 10 Attendance
- 11 See also
- 12 References
- 13 External links
The announcement followed an online consultation in which the public was invited to vote on the name during a limited period. The voting options were "Toronto Northmen", "Inter Toronto FC", "Toronto Reds", and "Toronto FC". MLSE's strategy in choosing "Toronto FC" following this process was based on two reasons. Firstly, over 40 percent of the online vote supported the simple Toronto FC name during the consultation; secondly, MLSE hoped that the fairly generic name would help the new club earn a more organic nickname from the Toronto fans rather than having one imposed upon the club. The team has been called "TFC" and "the Reds" by the media and the club. The "FC" in the team's name became the conventional initialism for Football Club.
Early years (2007–2010)
Despite a long scoreless streak to start the team's history, Toronto FC quickly began to establish itself as a club with significant fan support. The club's first win on 12 May 2007 at BMO Field as Danny Dichio scored the club's first goal in the 24th minute of a 3–1 home win over the Chicago Fire. Though TFC slipped to the bottom of the MLS standings with a record of 6–17–7, the club built a foundation as the first Canadian team in MLS. In the club's second season in 2008, Toronto hosted the 2008 MLS All-Star Game. The team finished last in the Eastern Conference with a record of 9–13–8, but the enthusiastic fan base continued to fill BMO Field to capacity. To determine the Canadian Soccer Association's representative in the CONCACAF Champions League, Toronto FC played in the inaugural Canadian Championship in 2008 competing for the Voyageurs Cup. TFC were the favourites to win the championship in its first year, but the Montreal Impact prevailed.
The last-place New York Red Bulls defeated Toronto FC 5–0 in the final 2009 regular season game, leaving TFC one point out of the playoffs. Despite bringing in some high-profile talent, the Reds could not seem to field a consistent side. Dwayne De Rosario became an immediate scoring influence and Amado Guevara was a strong playmaker and established MLS veteran, but the Honduran's future at the Canadian club seemed murky with looming 2010 FIFA World Cup duties. Rookie goalkeeper Stefan Frei quickly replaced Greg Sutton as a regular starter and immediately became a fan favourite. TFC only scored two goals in the final 15 minutes of games all season (last in MLS). During the same 15-minute period they gave up 16 goals (most in MLS), thus creating a −14 goal differential during the final 15 minutes.
In the 2009 Canadian Championship, Toronto FC required a four-goal victory over the Montreal Impact in the final game of the competition to nullify the Vancouver Whitecaps' +4 goal differential. Anything less would result in Vancouver winning the championship. Toronto FC went down 1–0 early, but overwhelmed an under-strength Impact side 6–1 on the back of a hat-trick by De Rosario. Guevara added two, scoring in the 69th and 92nd minute. Chad Barrett scored the decisive goal in the 82nd minute, which gave TFC the lead over Vancouver. The unlikely victory was dubbed by fans and media as the "Miracle in Montreal". Toronto FC subsequently participated in the 2009–10 CONCACAF Champions League, but lost 1–0 on aggregate to the Puerto Rico Islanders in the preliminary round of the tournament.
After failing to qualify on the final day of the 2009 campaign, Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment said anything short of a playoff spot in 2010 would be unacceptable. With that directive, former director of soccer Mo Johnston hired Preki and made wholesale changes to the roster to reflect the US Hall of Famer’s plan to play a tough, defensive style. Despite scoring troubles, TFC played well at the start, going undefeated in seven games at one time. The team struggled following the World Cup break. Sensing problems in the locker room and to try to salvage the season, MLSE dismissed both Johnston and Preki on September 14, naming Earl Cochrane interim director of soccer and Nick Dasovic interim coach. The players responded to Dasovic's more open flexible style, but it wasn't enough as the club was eliminated from playoff contention with three games left in the season. Off-field issues with season-seat holders over the 2011 season ticket package added to the fans' frustrations, forcing MLSE to hold a series of town hall meetings.
Toronto FC played C.D. Motagua in the preliminary round of the 2010–11 CONCACAF Champions League. TFC won 1–0 in the first leg on a goal by Chad Barrett, and tied 2–2 in the second leg on goals by De Rosario and Barrett, qualifying for the group stage. Toronto FC won their first group stage match 2–1 against Cruz Azul on August 17, 2010. However, the team failed to qualify for the championship round after finishing in third place behind group winners Real Salt Lake and second place Cruz Azul.
Highs and lows of Ajax culture (2011–2012)
On November 3, 2010, MLSE announced the hiring of former German international and coach Jürgen Klinsmann, and his California-based company, SoccerSolutions, to fix the club's game. Over the next six months, Klinsmann assessed the club, identifying a playing style and recommended a candidate for the director of soccer position. On January 6, 2011, the new management team for Toronto FC was announced. Aron Winter was hired as Head coach with his compatriot, Bob de Klerk named First Assistant coach. Paul Mariner was named as Director of soccer. Winter was selected to bring the Ajax culture, possession and 4-3-3 system to Toronto FC. Management made wholesale changes to the roster before and during the 2011 season, trading numerous players and eventually their captain and Toronto native De Rosario.
Toronto FC used its remaining two designated player slots on two notable European players, signing Torsten Frings and Danny Koevermans to 2.5 year contracts. The team went on to set a record for most players used in a MLS season with 39. Despite a strong finish to the season with only two losses in their last 12 games, TFC missed the MLS playoffs for a fifth straight year. Nonetheless, they earned a win in their final group stage match of 2011–12 CONCACAF Champions League at Pizza Hut Park against FC Dallas, securing a berth in the knockout stage versus LA Galaxy. After a 2–2 draw in Toronto before 47,658 fans at the Rogers Centre, Toronto FC defeated the Galaxy 2–1 in Los Angeles to reach the CONCACAF Champions League semifinals, the first Canadian team to do so. They were defeated by Santos Laguna in their semifinal.
On June 7, 2012, Aron Winter resigned from the club upon refusing to be reassigned from his head coaching role after the team started the season with a nine-game losing streak, setting an MLS record for worst start to a season. Under Winter in 2012, the club's league record was 1–9–0 and in all other competitions was 3–1–4, including a fourth-straight Canadian Championship. He was replaced by Paul Mariner, but TFC continued to struggle finishing with a 4–12–8 record in league play under him. Toronto FC also failed to advance in the CONCACAF Champions League, finishing second in its group with a 2–2–0 record. Overall, they finished the MLS season on a 14-game winless streak and ended up in last place, with five wins and 23 points (both franchise lows).
Contenders in the league (2015–present)
It was announced Kevin Payne would be leaving D.C. United for the general manager position at Toronto FC on November 27, 2012. First-time coach Ryan Nelsen replaced Mariner as of January 7, 2013. On April 25, 2013, Payne signed the first young designated player in MLS, Matías Laba. On July 9, Payne controversially traded Luis Silva to D.C. United for an undisclosed amount of allocation money. The club fired Payne on September 4. Following the removal of Payne, recently appointed MLSE president Tim Leiweke reasoned that there were philosophical differences between them as to how Toronto FC should move forward. Leiweke, who brought David Beckham to the LA Galaxy in early 2007, quickly revealed that he intended to make TFC more competitive with similarly ambitious, blockbuster signings. On September 20, Toronto FC announced that the vacant general manager position had been filled by Tim Bezbatchenko.
Under Bezbatchenko, Toronto FC made several high-profile moves during the 2013–14 off season. Among the transfers were MLS veterans Justin Morrow and Jackson; Brasileiro star Gilberto, United States international Michael Bradley of A.S. Roma, and the return of Toronto FC leading goal scorer De Rosario. On January 10, 2014, Tottenham Hotspur announced they had agreed a deal with the club over the transfer of England international Jermain Defoe for a reported fee of £6 million, and an Advertising Rights Agreement with Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment Ltd. Defoe would earn a reported £90,000 a week, making him the highest earner in MLS. These moves required the trade of Matias Laba to Vancouver, to comply with MLS's maximum of three designated players per team. On February 7, 2014, Brazil national team keeper Júlio César joined on loan from Queens Park Rangers. The team started the year with promise, but much like 2010, they floundered after the World Cup break. On August 31, Nelsen was fired by Bezbatchenko a day after a 0–3 defeat to the New England Revolution at BMO field, where Nelsen criticized Bezbatchenko in his post-match press conference for putting the players under needless pressure in the media. The head coaching position was filled by former American international and Chivas USA assistant, Greg Vanney. Although the club won the most games in its history, it failed to reach the playoffs for the eighth consecutive year. After completing only 11 months of his four-year contract with TFC, Defoe joined Premier League club Sunderland on January 16, 2015.
On the same day, Toronto received Jozy Altidore from Sunderland to complete the other half of the player swap. Three days later, the club signed Italian international Sebastian Giovinco on an annual salary of $7 million. On September 26, Giovinco scored and assisted in a 3–2 win over Chicago, putting him on 35 points for the season, breaking Chris Wondolowski's league record. Giovinco's totals of 22 goals and 16 assists, for 38 total points, made him the first TFC player to win the MLS Golden Boot, MLS MVP and MLS Newcomer of the Year Award.He was named to the MLS All-Star Game and the MLS Best XI and became the first player in MLS history to lead the league in both goals and assists in a single season. Toronto FC clinched a playoff berth on October 14, for the first time in franchise history. The team were eliminated in the knockout round of the 2015 MLS Cup Playoffs by a 3–0 loss at 401 Derby rivals Montreal Impact.
First MLS cup appearance
On June 29, 2016, Toronto FC won its fifth Canadian Championship, as it beat Vancouver 2–2 on aggregate, winning on away goals. Giovinco scored a hat-trick against D.C. United, on July 23, 2016, in a 4–1 home win, surpassing De Rosario's previous all-time record as Toronto FC's top scorer by two goals to 35 goals. In October 2016, Toronto FC clinched a playoff spot for the second straight season. The team proceeded to defeat the Philadelphia Union at BMO Field in the Eastern Conference Knockout Round to record their first-ever playoff win and to secure entry into the first Eastern Conference Semifinal in franchise history. Toronto FC defeated New York City FC 7–0 on aggregate to reach an all-Canadian Eastern Conference Finals derby against Montreal Impact. Montreal won the first leg of the Conference Championship, 3–2 at the Olympic Stadium in Montreal on November 22. Toronto beat Montreal 5–2 in extra time in the return leg at BMO Field in Toronto on November 30, winning on an aggregated score of 7–5, making Toronto FC the first Canadian team to compete in an MLS Cup Final. On December 10, Toronto lost the final at home to the Seattle Sounders 5–4 in penalty shoot-out following a goalless draw after extra-time.
- BMO Field; Toronto, Ontario (2007–present)
Before the 2007 Major League Soccer season, construction was completed on a new stadium at Exhibition Place in Toronto at a cost of $62.5 million. On September 20, 2006, MLS's official website announced that BMO Financial Group had purchased the naming rights for the new stadium. It is the largest soccer-specific stadium in Canada. It is owned by the City of Toronto, while MLSE, the team's owner, operates it.
As the National Soccer Stadium, it served as a major venue for the 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup, including hosting the opening and final matches. In 2008, it played host to the 2008 MLS All-Star Game. BMO Field has also hosted various high-profile teams in international friendlies such as Real Madrid in 2009. It was chosen as a neutral venue to host the 2010 MLS Cup in November 2010. It also holds other sports, such as Rugby Sevens during the 2015 Pan American Games and beginning in 2016, the Toronto Argonauts Canadian Football League team. It hosted a Toronto Maple Leafs National Hockey League game on January 1, 2017, as the NHL Centennial Classic.
Following criticism of BMO Field's use of FieldTurf and its rapid deterioration, MLSE agreed to a deal with the city to replace it with a natural grass surface in time for the 2010 MLS Season. Along with the grass, a heating and drainage system was also installed at a cost of $3.5 million to MLSE.
In March 2012, TFC played its first-ever match in the Rogers Centre, the 49,982-capacity home of Major League Baseball's Toronto Blue Jays and former home of the Argonauts, hosting the LA Galaxy in the home leg of the 2011–12 CONCACAF Champions League Championship Round. The retractable roof stadium was also the venue for a friendly against Liverpool of the English Premier League in July of that year.
Expansion to the north end that cost $2 million and added 1,249 seats was completed for the start of the 2010 MLS Season. A $120 million renovation to the stadium was officially announced September 23, 2014. It includes a second tier of seating that would add 8,400 seats, raising the capacity of the stadium to 30,991. New suites, washrooms, concourse and a roof would also be added. Construction began in September 2014 and would be divided into two phases, with the completion of the project set for May 2016. The expansion would accommodate a Canadian football field with artificial turf end-zones when the Toronto Argonauts move to BMO Field in 2016, along with hosting the Grey Cup that year.
Toronto FC's initial seasons saw TFC fans set the standard for MLS fan support, selling out its first three seasons. Referred to as the model franchise off the field by MLS commissioner Don Garber, the club was credited for starting "MLS 2.0" for their embrace of supporters' culture. Lack of on-field success caused frustration among the fanbase, spurring fan protests against ownership. In response, MLSE acknowledged the lack of quality on the on-field product, lowering ticket prices in 2013 to 2007 levels. Following a resurgence of interest in the club due to the major signings of Jermain Defoe and Michael Bradley, the club capped season tickets at 17,000 for the 2014 season.
The official mascot for Toronto FC is Bitchy the Hawk.
Toronto FC's biggest rival, Montreal Impact, joined MLS in 2012. In the years leading up to this, they emerged as fierce rivals during the Canadian Championship. The proximity of the two cities and the fact that Toronto and Montreal are long-standing rivals in NHL ice hockey contributes to these meetings being combative. Since both teams have joined MLS, the rivalry has intensified and the matches have become a Canadian soccer classic, which has also been named the 401 Derby, named after Ontario Highway 401 linking the two cities. On March 16, 2013, Toronto FC fans set an MLS record for travelling support with 3,200 away fans in Montreal to watch TFC lose 2–1, eclipsing their own record of 2,400 at Columbus Crew in 2008.
The 2016 MLS Cup Eastern Conference Finals were part of the 401 Derby as well, with Toronto FC winning the series 7–5 on aggregate.
Columbus Crew and Toronto FC have competed for the Trillium Cup since 2008. Although a manufactured rivalry, the meetings have since sparked bitterness. On March 28, 2009, approximately 1,700 Toronto FC supporters travelled to Columbus Crew Stadium and witnessed a 1–1 draw, during which they lit a number of flares and allegedly committed vandalism. Following the game some altercations broke out between the two supporter groups. Overwhelmed security called police who ended the melees and made arrests, at which time a TFC fan was tasered while being subdued. The first rematch back in Columbus Crew Stadium following the incident was boycotted by Toronto FC supporters in wake of restrictions imposed on them by Crew officials.
Colours and sponsorship
The official team colours include red as the primary colour, with black, grey and white as secondary colours.
The primary uniform (jersey, shorts and socks) is red with alternating lighter and darker horizontal bands, black sleeves with red trim, and a vertical black band below each sleeve extending the full length of the jersey. The secondary uniform includes white jerseys with a large red horizontal band below a smaller blue band across the chest with blue and red trim, white socks with blue trim, and with either red or blue shorts (the choice of which is subject to the opponent uniform). In its first three seasons, Toronto FC's secondary uniform colours were light and dark grey. In the following four seasons the team wore white secondary uniforms, whereas in 2014, the secondary uniforms were changed to onyx. As with all MLS teams, the uniforms are produced by Adidas. In 2013 and 2014, a shadow-print maple leaf was featured on Toronto FC's primary jerseys.
Since the club's formation in 2007, it has been sponsored by the Bank of Montreal (BMO). The sponsorship was worth $1–1.5 million per season, but in 2010, a new five-year deal worth $4 million per season was signed. In February 2016, it was announced that BMO had extended its sponsorship agreement through the rest of 2016 and in 2017.
Toronto FC are operated by Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment Ltd., who also own and operate the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Toronto Raptors and the Toronto Marlies, along with sports ventures like Leafs TV, NBA TV Canada and GolTV Canada. The company is also involved in real estate and property management, owning such sports venues such as the Air Canada Centre and being a partner in the development of Maple Leaf Square. The partners of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment are Larry Tanenbaum and rival media outlets Rogers Communications and Bell Media; Rogers and Bell own each of the primary sports television outlets in Canada (Sportsnet and TSN respectively), while Tanenbaum and Bell share ownership of the Toronto Argonauts, who share BMO Field with Toronto FC beginning in 2016.
Players and staff
Where a player has not declared an international allegiance, nation is determined by place of birth. Squad correct as of March 1, 2016.
|General manager||Tim Bezbatchenko|
|Head coach||Greg Vanney|
|Assistant coach||Dan Calichman|
|Assistant coach||Robin Fraser|
|Assistant coach||Nick Theslof|
|Goalkeeper coach||Jon Conway|
- As of August 24, 2016
|Mo Johnston||Scotland||August 22, 2006||February 1, 2008||30||6||17||7||20.00|
|John Carver||England||February 1, 2008||April 25, 2009||36||11||15||10||30.56|
|Chris Cummins (interim)||England||April 29, 2009||October 24, 2009||31||12||11||8||38.71|
|Preki||United States||November 19, 2009||September 14, 2010||32||11||11||10||34.38|
|Nick Dasovic (interim)||Canada||September 14, 2010||January 6, 2011||10||3||4||3||30.00|
|Aron Winter||Netherlands||January 6, 2011||June 7, 2012||64||18||25||21||28.13|
|Paul Mariner||England||June 7, 2012||January 7, 2013||28||6||14||8||21.43|
|Ryan Nelsen||New Zealand||January 7, 2013||August 31, 2014||64||17||29||18||26.56|
|Greg Vanney||United States||August 31, 2014||present||74||31||29||14||41.89|
- As of March 29, 2017
|Earl Cochrane (interim)||2010||2011|
Toronto FC II
Toronto FC II was established in November 2014 and is the farm club of Toronto FC. Toronto FC II competes in the United Soccer League, the third division of the American and Canadian soccer league system. The team serves as a reserve team for TFC and a bridge between the Academy and First Team. The team began play in March 2015. Their home stadium is the newly constructed 3,500-seat stadium at the Ontario Soccer Centre in Vaughan, just north-northwest of Toronto. Jason Bent is the team's first head coach.
TFC Academy is the youth academy and development system of Toronto FC that was established in 2008. The academy consists of multiple teams spanning different age groups, from U10 to U19. The senior academy teams currently play in the Premier Development League and League1 Ontario, the latter team which is known as Toronto FC III.
In June 2012, TFC academy moved to their new KIA Training Ground in Downsview Park, located in North York. Built at a cost of $21 million to MLSE, the facility has seven pitches: three full-sized grass pitches and four artificial turfs with two capable of being bubbled for year-round use. The 36,000-square-foot (3,300 m2) facility also contains first team facilities, gym, kitchen, and offices.
As of 2017, Toronto FC games are exclusively broadcast by TSN, with certain games (typically against other Canadian MLS franchises) also shown on CTV. Prior to 2017, Toronto FC games were broadcast exclusively by TSN and Sportsnet. Games that were not covered under national broadcast contracts with MLS or other competition organizers were divided evenly between the two broadcasters, pursuant to agreements between their parent companies (Bell Canada and Rogers Communications respectively) in connection to their joint 2011 purchase of MLSE.
GolTV Canada, acquired by MLSE in 2009, carried several live Toronto FC games each season from 2009 to 2012, normally commentated by Luke Wileman. The channel continues to carry repeats of TFC games and other ancillary coverage of the team. Other previous broadcasters for the 2007 to 2010 seasons included The Score and CBC Sports (through CBC Television and Bold).
Similar to the TV rights, radio broadcasts are divided between Sportsnet 590 and TSN 1050; Gareth Wheeler calls the games along with former TFC player Terry Dunfield on TSN 1050, while Rob Faulds and Bob Iarusci calls the TFC games on Sportsnet 590.
- MLS Cup
- Runners-up (1): 2016
- Eastern Conference
- Winners (Playoffs) (1): 2016
- Canadian Championship
|Year||Regular Season||Playoffs||Canadian Championship||CONCACAF Champions League|
|2007||13th (6–17–7)||Did not qualify||N/A||N/A|
|2008||12th (9–13–8)||Runners-up||Did not qualify|
|2009||12th (10–11–9)||Champions||Preliminary round|
|2010||11th (9–13–8)||Champions||Group stage|
|2012||19th (5–21–8)||Champions||Group stage|
|2013||17th (6–17–11)||Semifinals||Did not qualify|
|2015||12th (15–15–4)||Knockout round||Semifinals|
Players of the year
Player(s) winning MLS Golden Boot
Player(s) winning MLS MVP Award
Player(s) winning MLS Newcomer of the Year Award
- Average attendance
The largest attendance for a Toronto FC game at the team's home stadium, BMO Field, was on December 10, 2016, when they hosted the Seattle Sounders in the 2016 MLS Cup Final in front of 36,045 fans; the stadium was expanded beyond its capacity. The highest overall attendance for a home game was on March 7, 2012, when they hosted the Los Angeles Galaxy in the 2011–12 CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals at the Rogers Centre in front of 47,658.
- Canadian Championship
- Canadian Men's National Team
- Canadian Soccer Association
- Canadian Soccer League
- Toronto Lynx
- Toronto Blizzard (1971–84)
- Toronto Blizzard (1986–93)
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