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TFC Hires Percovich
December 15, 2009, 10:45 AM
Filed under: Coaching, Leo Percovich, Toronto FC

Toronto FC announced Monday that the team has hired Leo Percovich as assistant coach. Percovich arrives from Chivas USA where he was a member of their coaching staff as goalkeeper coach from January of 2008.

“Leo and Preki worked well together at Chivas, and like we said from the beginning when we hired Preki, if he wanted to bring his own guy in we would let him,” said director of soccer Mo Johnston. “I think Leo will mesh very well with the existing staff we have here.”

Percovich, 41 is a former Copa Libertadores and Uruguayan First Division champion. A native of Montevideo, Uruguay, he also served as goalkeeper coach with the Colorado Rapids (2006-2007) before joining Chivas USA. Percovich has trained under various coaches throughout Europe and Latin America, including time with club sides Real Madrid, Valencia, Stuttgart, Cruzeiro, and Pachuca as well as the national teams of Brazil, France, and Uruguay.

In his time as a player, Percovich made six appearances with the Uruguayan National Team during a professional career that saw him suit up for Nacional de Montevideo (1987-1993), Atletico Mineiro (1994), Guarani FC (1995), Fluminense FC (1995-1999), as well as Alianza de Lima in 2000 and Racing de Ferrot in 2001.

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TFC to hire Preki as new head coach
November 14, 2009, 1:24 PM
Filed under: Coaching, Preki, Toronto FC

Toronto FC has tried and failed for three straight years to make the playoffs, so finding a coach capable of getting the club over that hurdle was vital this winter. TFC has found just such a coach in one of the most sought-after coaching prospects in American soccer.

Toronto FC will hire Preki as the club’s fourth head coach, sources told SBI on Friday. Preki will take over for former interim head coach Chris Cummins, who was not retained after taking over for former head coach John Carver.

Preki’s arrival in Toronto will reunite him with former Kansas City Wizards and Everton teammate Mo Johnson, TFC’s director of soccer. Johnston stated that he wanted to bring in a head coach who understood MLS and Preki brings one of the best resumes around when it comes to MLS.

A former MVP and MLS Cup winner as a player, Preki guided Chivas USA to the playoffs in each of his three seasons as head coach, though the team did lose in the first round each season.

Preki had been believed to be a candidate to take over as Chicago Fire head coach, but the Fire’s continued success under current coach Denis Hamlett removed that move as an option.

One interesting sub-plot surrounding Preki’s hiring is how it will affect Toronto FC midfielder Amado Guevara. Preki traded Guevera to Toronto after he and Guevara had a falling out during Guevara’s brief time with Chivas USA in 2007.

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Experienced MLS Coach Wanted!
October 28, 2009, 8:45 AM
Filed under: Coaching, Toronto FC

This time, Mo Johnston is looking for someone with experience.

After announcing Tuesday that the contract of Toronto FC interim head coach Chris Cummins would not be renewed for 2010, the club’s general manager told reporters he hopes to have a new guy in place well before January’s Major League Soccer SuperDraft.

Despite a third straight season missing the playoffs and the suggestions of an unsettled dressing room, Johnston said he doesn’t worry an experienced coach will want to stay clear of TFC.

“I think the perception of the locker room and the bad apples is exaggerated,” said Johnston. “When you look at coaching candidates, I think they’ll jump at the chance of (coming to) Toronto.”

Johnston, who agreed to a 2 1/2 year contract in August, said he’ll let “the dust settle” from the MLS playoffs, which end on Nov. 22, before going after the man who will be the fourth coach of TFC in its four MLS seasons.

Among names of candidates circulating for the head coaching position are: Steve Nicol of the New England Revolution, Richie Williams, interim head coach of the Red Bulls, Denis Hamlett of the Chicago Fire and Frank Yallop, former Canadian international player and coach who is now coach of the San Jose Earthquakes.

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Reds to name interim head coach
April 29, 2009, 8:19 AM
Filed under: Chris Cummins, Coaching, Nick Dasovic, Toronto FC

There isn’t a great deal of suspense surrounding the search for Toronto FC’s interim head coach. Either Chris Cummins or Nick Dasovic will be named the club’s interim coach on Wednesday, and whichever of the two Reds assistant coaches is tapped for the top job, the decision will be popular with the players.

“They’re both great guys,” said midfielder Carl Robinson. “They get on well with the boys … and they’re great coaches as well. They’re both very technical, very tactical, so we’re going to be in good hands.”

TFC manager and director of soccer Mo Johnston announced on Sunday that the team would be looking only at Cummins and Dasovic for the head coaching job that was vacated by John Carver last Friday. With the season just seven games old and Carver’s resignation coming as something of a surprise, hiring one of the assistants would help the club retain some continuity.

“If a new manager comes in, he starts studying the players, getting to know them and we’re starting from scratch,” said team captain Jim Brennan. “Here, we have good momentum at the moment and whoever comes in, we’ll just continue that.

“They’re both great guys and great coaches and they have a great deal of respect from all the players. Whomever gets it, they already have the dressing room.”

Cummins ran the sidelines on Wednesday during TFC’s 1-0 win against Chivas USA while Carver directed things from a stadium box, and Cummins was also the coach of record for the Reds’ 1-0 win over Kansas City on Sunday. He said that both he, Dasovic and the whole team are focused only on this Saturday’s match against Columbus rather than the coaching situation.

“It was a tough week last week with everything that went on,” Cummins said. “I’ve just come in to do my job. I love my job just as Das does. … We’ve just trained with the lads and nobody’s talking about it, to be honest with you. We’re just coming in and getting on with our jobs. We’ll wait and see what happens tomorrow.”

It would be the first time as the head coach of a professional club for either Cummins or Dasovic, as both men have built their reputations as quality developers of young talent in several different leagues around the world.

Cummins, 37, began his pro coaching career in his early 20s and got his first professional coaching job with his hometown Watford Football Club in 1996, hired by Watford legend and former England head coach Graham Taylor. He served as the team’s youth development director and assistant academy manager of both the under-16 and youth teams before being named Watford’s director of youth and the youth and reserve team coach.

He moved on to take the same role with Luton Town, where he first worked with Carver. When Carver took over the TFC job 15 months ago, he brought Cummins into the fold as Toronto’s assistant coach upon the conclusion of Luton’s season in May 2008.

Cummins said that he has learned lessons from all of the coaches he has worked with, but also noted that part of the reason he was interested in coaching in the first place was as a reaction to what he felt was poor instruction in his semi-pro playing days.

“I was quite opinionated, and I used to get frustrated, to be honest with you, with some coaches that I didn’t think knew the game,” Cummins said. “So I got into the coaching side and I was fortunate to get the opportunity when I was very young. People talk about me being a young coach, but I’ve been in the professional game now for 16 years.”

Perhaps the best-known of Cummins’ charges is current Aston Villa winger Ashley Young. Cummins has known Young since he was a 10-year-old entering the Watford Academy for the first time, and oversaw Young’s development into a star for Watford, Villa and now the English national team.

Cummins deflected praise for helping Young and the other notable players that he had taught on the way, instead saying the credit belonged to the players themselves.

“I’ve had an influence in some of their careers but it comes down to their natural talent, their ability and their desire to want to do well. I can’t take all the credit for that,” Cummins said.

For Dasovic, Toronto FC is the latest stop in a footballing journey that has taken him all over Canada and Europe. The Vancouver native’s 16-year professional playing career took him to Croatia, Sweden, France and Sweden, as well as stints with the North York Rockets of the old Canadian Soccer League and the USL’s Montreal Impact and Vancouver Whitecaps.

“I’ve had the opportunity to live in Sweden, France, Scotland and you learn different styles of football, different ways of life and cultures,” Dasovic said. “It helps to make you a more complete person in every aspect, not just in coaching.”

Dasovic’s playing and coaching careers overlapped, as he served as an assistant coach while still playing for the Whitecaps from 2002 to 2005. Upon retirement, he became Vancouver’s reserve team coach in 2006 as well as an assistant coach in the national program, first with Canada’s under-20 team and then with the national team, a position he still holds to this day. The international duty was a natural step for a man who was a fixture in Canada’s midfield and back line; Dasovic’s 63 caps are the sixth-most of any player in Canada’s history.

While Dasovic, 40, enjoys his role with Canada, he has relished the chance to work for Toronto FC. He joined the club last May as the head of the TFC Academy, and this season was promoted to working with the first team.

“I prefer to be in club football, only because with the Canadian national program, you didn’t really coach,” Dasovic said. “You had three months off then you’d go away on a trip for 10 days and there wasn’t a lot of coaching you could do. It was more monitoring the players’ fitness levels, etc. and then you’d have another three-month break. This is the element of coaching is where you want to be right now because you’re in there every single day in an environment when there’s a lot of pressure on everybody. It’s good to be part of pressure because it keeps you striving to be better.”

Dasovic said the coaching staff and players have already adjusted to moving on without Carver since each coach was already given a lot of responsibility.

“The good part about being with the club is that JC gave us roles and let us do our own thing. He wasn’t there looking over our backs the whole time,” Dasovic said. “Coming into this role it’s comfortable. Me and Chris have been working together for over a year now and we get on well. Everything’s been great.

“There is no transition, as far as I’m concerned. It’s status quo. Obviously JC’s not there, but in terms of Chris, myself, [strength and conditioning coach] Paul [Winsper], [goalkeeper coach Mike] Toshack and the rest of the staff, we carried on and I think that’s what’s been good about it.”

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TFC to up its Canuck content
April 29, 2009, 8:18 AM
Filed under: Chris Cummins, Coaching, Nick Dasovic, Toronto FC

The nation’s only Major League Soccer team should get significantly more Canadian content on its revamped coaching staff.

Nick Dasovic is expected to get a bigger portfolio with Toronto FC in an announcement today, either as an equal or first assistant to Englishman Chris Cummins, who replaces John Carver.

Cummins and Dasovic ran the team the past few days, including Sunday’s 1-0 win over Kansas City that put TFC in top spot in the Eastern Conference.

“Chris and I have been working together for a year now and we get along well,” the Vancouver-born Dasovic said yesterday at BMO Field.

“Chris has stepped up, the wheels are turning, the boys are feeding off of it and we’ll see how things work out.”

Dasovic arrived last season with Carver and Cummins, having played with and coached the Canadian national team between several overseas adventures in Scotland, France and Sweden.


“I prefer to be in club football,” Dasovic said. “With the Canadian national program, you didn’t really coach; it was more monitoring players’ fitness with a three-month break. This is where you want to be, an environment where there’s pressure on everybody. It keeps you (hungry).”

Dasovic and Cummins are trying to move forward from last week’s strange episodes: The stressed-out Carver’s fight with MLS officials coming to a head, his resignation and then a pair of stirring 1-0 home wins with him off the pitch.

Carver has told several media outlets that the final straw was MLS telling him to get back behind the bench after he tried to get out of harm’s way Wednesday night by taking a press box seat.

“It’s football,” Dasovic said of the wacky week. “I think I’ve had 13 different managers in my career. You just get on with it.”

Cummins continues to conduct himself like a head coach, but is not going to steal general manager Mo Johnston’s thunder at today’s press conference. The pair have all this week to get the team ready for Saturday’s home game against Columbus.

“I enjoy my job, as Das does,” Cummins said. “We’ll have a meeting (today with Johnston) and see what happens.”

The players continue to quietly lobby for one or both to stay put.

“I’ve known Das a long time and played with him on the national team,” Canadian-born captain Jim Brennan said.

“As (teammate) Carl Robinson said, whoever gets the job, all the best to them, but they’re both good. They have a great deal of respect from all the players which helps, because whoever does get it will have the dressing room’s (attention) right away.”

Brennan and Robinson have waited a long time to get the club on a roll.

“I think we showed that on Sunday in the huddle before the game,” Robinson said. “It involved everyone from the physio guys, to the equipment men to the coaches. The (players) might have made a couple of mistakes on Sunday, but they were able to smile about it.”

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Reds get new goalkeeper coach
January 8, 2009, 6:52 PM
Filed under: Announcement, Coaching, Toronto FC

Toronto FC announced that Prescott, Ontario native Michael Toshack has joined the club as Goalkeeper Coach. Toshack, heads back to his native Canada after three seasons in Major League Soccer with the Houston Dynamo. As per team policy terms of the contract were not released.

“We are excited to have him on board,” said manager, director of soccer Mo Johnston. “Mike comes highly recommended; he’s coming here from a winning organization that will greatly benefit us and he knows all about our goalkeeper Greg Sutton. We felt we needed to move Eddie Kehoe over to ProZone fulltime because that requires 100 percent commitment.”

“It will be great having Mike as a part of the team this year,” said Sutton. “I know him well from my days in University and at the pro level. He’s a class act and I look forward to reuniting with a good friend in the pre-season.”

Kehoe served as the team’s goalkeeping coach since its inaugural season in 2007. His new position as ProZone Video Analyst will better assist the club in using the technology to its fullest and increasing the in-depth scouting and trend analysis throughout the season.

Before joining MLS, Toshack was hired as the Director of Goalkeeping at United Soccer League First Division side, the Vancouver Whitecaps in February of 2005. He was responsible for the development and training of all goalkeepers in the club, from youth teams to professional. He served as an assistant coach when Vancouver won the USL First Division championship in 2006. Toshack also spent time with the Montreal Impact, serving as an assistant coach in 2002-2003, where he worked with current Toronto FC goalkeeper, Greg Sutton. In 2003, Sutton was named the A-League goalkeeper of the year.

Toshack worked with one of the top youth clubs and PDL franchises in the country when he served as goalkeeping director for Mass Premier Soccer in Boston. There he was responsible for the development of all goalkeepers for the 28 Super Y-league teams as well as the Cape Cod Crusaders of the PDL.

From 1994 to 2003, Toshack was the assistant coach at St. Lawrence University in Canton, N.Y and was a part of the team that won the NCAA Division III championship in 1999. During his time in New York, Toshack also kept busy by serving as goalkeeping coach with the Canadian U-20 national team from 1998-2001. That position took him around the world including a stop in Argentina where the 2001 FIFA World Youth Championships took place.

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