Jim Brennan, York United FC's 1st and only coach, won't have contract renewed

Jim Brennan, coach and technical director of York United FC, is leaving the Canadian Premier League soccer club after the north Toronto team informed him his expiring contract would not be extended.

Former Toronto FC captain was also CPL club's technical director

Jim Brennan is out as York United FC coach and general manager following the Canadian Premier League club's semifinal loss to Forge FC on Sunday. (Submitted by York United FC)

York United FC has parted ways with the only coach it has ever had.

The Canadian Premier League club announced Tuesday it will not renew the contract of Jim Brennan, who doubled as head coach and technical director.

The news comes two days after a young York side lost 3-1 to defending champion Forge FC in the CPL semifinals.

Brennan, who joined the club in July 2018, signed a contract extension in May 2020 that runs through 2021, with a club option for 2022. The club had until the end of December to trigger that option.

After a review of the year by ownership and Angus McNab, York's CEO, president and GM, the decision was made to go in a new direction.

"These things just sometimes come to a natural end. We're just looking for what takes the club forward. And we feel that it was time for a change," McNab said in an interview.

The youngest team in the league, York finished with an 8-8-12 record this season but won only one of its last nine games (1-4-4) including the playoff defeat.

And while the club finished the regular season fourth to get the last playoff berth, it was middle of the eight-team league and finished nine points behind third-place Pacific FC.

McNab called it "foundation year for some of our players."

York finished third, fifth and fourth in the regular season under the 44-year-old Brennan, who has coached the franchise since its inception. McNab credited the former Canadian international for his "very significant body" of work with the franchise.

Stalteri remains assistant coach

McNab said assistant coach Paul Stalteri, whose 84 Canada caps were a national men's record until overtaken by Julian de Guzman (89) and then Atiba Hutchinson (90), remains with the club.

"He's someone whose input I value hugely and someone that we really do rate at the club," said McNab. "He's a great resource and a really valued member of the place."

As for Stalteri as a possible head coach, McNab said it was too early to say. "The news is very fresh."

Initially Brennan, a native of Newmarket, Ont., was part of the club's ownership group along with Preben Ganzhorn and Carlo Baldassarra, chairman and CEO of Greenpark Group. McNab said that structure was revised when Brennan signed his contract extension, with the Baldassarra family now sole owners.

Under Brennan, York's under-21 talent played 9,043 minutes in the 2021 CPL season.

McNab said the club has offered contract extensions to three of those youngsters: Max Ferrari, Isaiah Johnston and Cedric Toussaint. The club has Lowell Wright under contract.

"We have a very exciting young Canadian core and we'll obviously look to supplement that and build through the off-season and really really push to try and make the jump into those spots at the top of the table and ultimately get ourselves in the position over the next couple of years that we want to be playing football in the CONCACAF Champions League."

The club, which plays at York University's York Lions Stadium, rebranded this season to York United FC from York 9 FC.

A member of the Canada Soccer Hall of Fame, Brennan won 49 caps for Canada and was a member of its winning Gold Cup squad in 2000.

A feisty fullback/winger, Brennan played in England for Bristol City, Nottingham Forest, Huddersfield Town, Norwich City, Southampton and finally Toronto FC, where he was the MLS team's first signing and captain.

He made 84 appearances for Toronto before moving upstairs to the front office in April 2010.

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