Leiweke: Nelsen will be TFC’s head coach in 2014

- August 29th, 2013

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Toronto FC supporters endure it every autumn.

Six weeks of seasonal depression, buoyed by a litany of excuses pertaining to TFC being out of post-season contention with two months remaining.

Once buzzing, BMO Field shrinks to two-thirds capacity. The fans, far less lively, arrive late and leave early.

Ahead of Friday night’s game against the visiting New England Revolution, things are largely the same as they’ve been for seven seasons, a time of year when every day, every game feels like Blue Monday.

In brief, supporters are left feeling like they’re owed something.

Thursday night, they received partial payment.

Standing side-by-side, Toronto FC head coach Ryan Nelsen and MLSE CEO Tim Leiweke met with around two-dozen Red Patch Boys supporters in downtown Toronto Thursday night to discuss what’s largely been another season from hell.

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As always, key injuries to top players — Danny Koevermans and Matias Laba — have pushed TFC’s already meager depth to the limit.

Add in Jeremy Brockie’s recent departure — the New Zealander’s loan spell ended last weekend — and TFC’s attacking corps has lost what little mettle it had prior to Brockie’s departure.

As for the club’s front office, you get the sense they’d gladly pack it in with an eye towards the off-season if given the chance.

Some, however, might be packing things permanently.

Leiweke, according to a supporter who was at the meeting, told those in attendance he’s completing a full-scale review of TFC, basically going line by line to determine what changes — if any — need to be made.

To be clear, there are jobs on the line. At least one front office member has already been put on notice that their job will be excess to necessity come the off-season.

One person, however, can sleep easy at night knowing Leiweke is in his corner. According to those at the meeting, Leiweke told supporters head coach Ryan Nelsen’s job is “100%” safe, giving him a glowing review.

The New Zealander will be back next season despite managing the Reds through yet another miserable season.

As for Kevin Payne, Toronto’s first-year president and general manager wasn’t at the meeting, wasn’t standing side-by-side with his CEO and is likely up for review like everyone else.

As an aside, it should be noted Payne was hired prior to Leiweke’s appointment, and that the club’s new CEO has already restructured at least a portion of senior management throughout MLSE.

“We’re in a nice position now … for years to come,” TFC head coach Ryan Nelsen said during Thursday’s pre-match training session, hours before Thursday night’s meeting.

Revelations from his CEO provided a reason for Nelsen’s, at times, overtly positive mindset concerning a club that, at the moment, isn’t close to good enough.

“We’ve got salary cap room moving forward. We’ve got some allocation that we don’t have to use to pay down debt. We can purchase assets. That’s what it should be there for. We’ve never had that in the first seven years of Toronto.”

They haven’t had this kind of cash, either.

Leiweke also confirmed Thursday night that MLSE’s board originally approved as much as $25 million for the club to sign a new Designated Player.

That money, however, was pulled back after the player was deemed not to be the right fit.

Now, following a full-scale review – and at least one already internally announced causality –  we’ll see if anyone else at TFC is determined to be expendable.

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5 comments

  1. Johnny de Haan says:

    The bad news: Toronto FC suck really bad.
    The good news: They can only get better

  2. Loyal113 says:

    Would like to see payne back also; hes done well to manage the funds clean up players who are overpaid – like o’dea – and his connections in latin america as well as knowledge of MLS ‘ins and outs’ is something we tfc faithful have never had in the front office.
    Stop the revolving door and lets see a vision actually unfold.

  3. Rdvp Pinman says:

    Disappointing.
    Tell me what major team of any major league in the world would hire a rookie coach without any coaching experience to coach their top team.
    The silence is deafening. Just saying

  4. Patrick says:

    Real Salt lake hired Jason Kreis went from player to Coach. Lanus hired Guillermo Barros Schelotto who just retired and he seems to be doing well. New England Revolution hired a rookie coach.

  5. Jimi says:

    The supporters stopped buzzing when the old front office raged war against them, they took the fun out of being at the games and shut down supporter groups for showing displeasure in the direction and poor financial, coaching and player decisions that were being made.

    Once the team starts working together with the fans and stops looking at them as open wallets the stadium atmosphere will buzz again.

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