Soccer

No rush to hire Toronto FC's GM

MLSE chief operating officer Tom Anselmi says there is no timetable in place to hire a new general manager for Toronto FC, and MLSE is negotiating with a consultant group to help conduct a search.

Club talking to consultant to help with search

Tom Anselmi, the COO of MLSE, which owns Toronto FC, said his company will be patient in searching for a new GM for its soccer club. ((Nathan Denette/Canadian Press))

With Major League Soccer’s regular season over and no local playoff matches to look forward to, Toronto FC can now focus on the future. Specifically, finding a new general manager and head coach.

Earl Cochrane and Nick Dasovic have been working in those positions on an interim basis ever since the club’s owners, Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment, fired Mo Johnston and Preki last month. Cochrane took over from Johnston, having served as the head of the team’s youth academy since it was launched in 2007, while Dasovic was promoted from his assistant coach’s job to temporarily fill the void left by Preki.

MLSE chief operating officer Tom Anselmi told reporters Tuesday there is no timetable in place to hire a new GM, and that MLSE is negotiating with a consultant group to help conduct a talent search.

"The objective is [to find someone] as soon as possible, but most important is getting the right guy. And if that takes more time, then we need to wait," said Anselmi.

He later added that the consultant group is "going to help us with, ideally, more than just a [GM] search. It’s going to be about looking at our whole soccer operation and helping us take it to the next level."

Anselmi confirmed that the new GM will be charged with the responsibility of picking a new coach and will have to turn around the fortunes of a team that has yet to qualify for the playoffs since entering the league four years ago.

Track record counts

Credibility and leadership skills are just two of the characteristics that prospective candidates will ideally possess, according to Anselmi. Another is experience.

"I think someone who has a track record of success is probably the most important thing, and can assimilate themselves into this league," stated Anselmi, while conceding that that particular talent pool isn’t deep and the club may have to settle for someone who isn’t intimately familiar with MLS.

Anselmi didn’t rule out hiring Cochrane to fill the GM spot, but admitted he "probably doesn’t have the stature and track record to make himself a serious candidate."

That doesn’t bother Cochrane, who has expressed an interest in the GM position but hasn’t lobbied for it and would have no problem returning to his old position as head of the team’s youth academy or assuming a new role with the club.

"I want to be here for a long period of time," said Cochrane.

Likewise, Dasovic would jump at the chance to take over the coaching reins on a full-time basis, but wouldn’t be opposed to returning as an assistant under the right circumstances

"Absolutely, I’d take it in a second," Dasovic stated. "In saying that, if they feel it’s not the right time, I would respect that decision as well."

In the meantime, it’s business as usual for Cochrane and Dasovic who, together with assistant GM Jim Brennan, are working together on day-to-day operations of the club.

Cochrane said the trio is trying "to set the table" for the new GM and coach "so that they can pick up the ball and start running with it."

Among the more important items on their agenda are preparing for the expansion draft later this month and the college draft in January, and deciding which players on the current TFC roster to keep and cut, as well as making possible player moves in the free-agent market.

The uncertainty over their own futures, assured Cochrane, won’t influence their decision-making process over the ensuing months. Nor are they worried about the possibility of the work they are about to do being all for naught if the new GM has a different vision for Toronto FC.

"That’s not [something] we think about all the time," said Cochrane. "We’re looking to build a squad that we think is capable of competing in this league, and two or three years down the road competing on a consistent basis for championships. That’s the way we have to envision this."