Empty titles at BMO Field

Nelsen (L) and O'Leary

Ryan Nelsen, Toronto’s current head coach, is the club’s eighth in only seven seasons. The Reds haven’t excelled at much, but they’ve become experts at creating roles for reshuffled coaches and executives. More than one manager has been “moved upstairs” into a newly created position invented in a press release. By this point, it’s worth taking a look at just how many official-sounding titles the club have used. (updated September 20, 2013)

Club owners Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment have gone through cycles of hiring people who “know MLS,” deferring to Mo Johnston for years before realizing something was wrong (even if they weren’t quite sure what). Other times, European experience is in fashion, as in when Jürgen Klinsmann recommended Aron Winter to MLSE. We all saw how that went – after a promising Champions League run, the Dutchman led the club to an 0 and 9 start in 2012. His old assistant, Bob de Klerk, was then shoehorned into a newly invented “Technical Manager” position to get him off the sidelines.

Ryan Nelsen has charmed the club by having both MLS and Premier League experience, but it will be difficult for him to overcome a classic problem in Toronto’s backroom – too many cooks in the kitchen has led to egos clashing and the Reds failing to get success out of any system. In September 2013, Kevin Payne – the man who hired Nelsen – “resigned” as General Manager, with 31-year-old attorney Tim Bezbatchenko taking his place.

Here’s a look at the club’s history of appointments that range from fairly standard to downright confusing. Not all of these are empty, and there’s a bit of overlap, but I’ve tried to group titles together when it’s seemed like the same job:


Head Coach

Mo Johnston (2006-2008)
John Carver (2009)
Chris Cummins (2009)
Preki (2010)
Nick Dasovic (2010-2011)
Aron Winter (2011-2012)
Paul Mariner (2012-2013)
Ryan Nelsen (2013-)


Director of Soccer (Operations)
Technical Director
(General) Manager

Mo Johnston (2006-2010)
Earl Cochrane (2010-2011)
Aron Winter (2011-2012)
Paul Mariner (2012-2013)
Kevin Payne (2012-2013)
Tim Bezbatchenko (2013- )

Assistant General Manager
Assistant Technical Director

Jim Brennan (2010)
Bob de Klerk (2011-2012)

Director of Player Development

Paul Mariner (2011-2012)

Rongen (L) and DichioAcademy Director

Earl Cochrane (2007-2008)
Nick Dasovic (2008-2009)
Earl Cochrane (2010)
Stuart Neely (2010-2011)
Earl Cochrane (2011-2012)
Thomas Rongen (2012-)

Director of Team/Player Operations

Earl Cochrane (2006-2007)
Paul Beirne (2007)
Stuart Neely (2011)
Earl Cochrane (2011-)

Technical Manager

Bob de Klerk (2012-2013)

BrennanFirst Assistant Coach

Chris Cummins (2008-2009)
Nick Dasovic (2009-2010)
Bob de Klerk (2011-2012)
Jim Brennan (2012-)
Fran O’Leary (2013-)

Second Assistant Coach

Nick Dasovic (2008-2009)
Nick Dasovic (2010)
Jason Bent (2012-)
Duncan Oughton (2013-)

Have I missed anyone? What do you think about the revolving door in Toronto? Comment below.


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About canadianfootball

Student of the game. @scott_ferguson

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