Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Toronto FC Continues to Audition Talent, Still Dealing with Sins of the Past

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Toronto FC Continues to Audition Talent, Still Dealing with Sins of the Past

Article excerpt

Toronto FC dealing with sins of the past


TORONTO - The MLS season has already started but Toronto FC remains very much a work in progress.

At practice Tuesday, a half-dozen trialists looked to make their mark under the bubble at the club's north Toronto practice facility. Others, like Welsh striker Robert Earnshaw, signed on last week and are still learning the ropes.

While manager Ryan Nelsen looks to fashion a squad, the new regime is also having to deal off the field with the sins of the franchise's past.

"There's a reason probably why the club hasn't had a certain amount of success," Nelsen said. "We're just trying to implement certain things that make the club work on a good foundation -- and that's scouting, recruiting, organization, infrastructure and all of that.

"Once we get that, then we can kind of build on top of that."

With managers Aron Winter, Paul Mariner and technical manager Bob de Klerk leaving the franchise during or after the 2012 season, the Toronto front office seemingly folded into itself until president Kevin Payne came on board Nov. 28.

Nelsen was named coach on Jan. 8, but had to settle with Queens Park Rangers on a suitable date to leave the playing field in the English Premier League and start his managerial career in MLS.

He eventually took the TFC reins on Feb. 1.

"When we came in the club, the club had done nothing," Nelsen said. "No recruitment, no scouting, no nothing, so we literally have to start from scratch here and we feel like we're four or five weeks behind everybody because we had to deal with cap issues and we had to deal with squad issues.

"Hopefully now we're starting to bring in some players. I just wish pre-season would go for four or five more weeks."

Nelsen's matter-of-fact statements are, in fact, a damning indictment of what preceded him.

Incompetence wears many faces at a franchise that has never made the playoffs in six seasons and boasts a career league record of 45-88-55.

Having agreed to take over the runt of the MLS litter, the new management at TFC is essentially trying to assess talent, acquire it and then turn it into something that works under the league's salary cap. …

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