Connect with us

Leagues: MLS

Toronto FC: Will the Mariner, Winter and De Klerk Trio Work?

During one of my many online jaunts reading the news of both the EPL and MLS, I came across a story about the appointment of former Ajax winger Aron Winter as head coach of Toronto FC.

The photograph accompanying the story denoted a further two men, one of whom Paul Mariner I recognized from his recent stint as Plymouth Argyle manager. I admit to knowing little of the third member of the trio Bob De Klerk other than a brief mention of coaching Ajax’s youngsters. To many modern football fans the implementation of a tiered management structure is a good thing. This is because it breaks up the many roles of a manager and delegates them to specific members of staff selected for their knowledge on that subject.

The problem often encountered with this setup is the difference of opinion between staff. The most recent public example of this came at Newcastle United. Dennis Wise was employed as director of football and it later came out that he had signed players over the head of then manager Kevin Keegan.

Now I’m not saying the same situation will occur at TFC, partly because Mariner is in a completely different role to that of which Dennis Wise found himself in. As ‘Head of Player Development’ it would appear his inclusion on the staff is because of his coaching experience throughout the US from College level to MLS as well as a brief stint in English football.

We mustn’t forget this is Aron Winter’s first job in club management, having come from a similar background to his assistant with Jong, Ajax. To the optimistic TFC fan, Mariner will guide Winter along the right path as he forges the early years of his career in management. To the pessimist the question remains, will Paul Mariner be able to take instruction from a man who is vastly inexperienced at this level?

After all should the experiment fail, Mariner will most likely find himself out of a job. Will he be able to sit back if he feels the decision’s his head coach is making are wrong? Ultimately these questions will be answered over the course of the next few seasons.

One of the first decisions the pair will have to make is whether the club will retain all time leading goal scorer Dwayne De Rosario. The player himself seems confident of a deal but was still able to fire a subtle dig at the new coaching staff claiming if the deal was a priority to Winter and Mariner: “It would have gotten done a long time ago.”

Not quite the words of a happy player, and despite being 32 years old, Rosario is still a vital cog of the Toronto machine. His experience much like Mariner’s will be vital to a young Toronto side if they want to reach the playoffs after last season’s disappointing finish. When you also consider 26 of the club’s 70 goals have come from the Canadian international he’s useful both on and off the field.

In truth, I see Toronto struggling this year. It’s something I know that will not go down well with the fantastic fans that regularly fill the BMO Field stadium. Systems like the one they are attempting often take time to become established and bear success, whether those in charge at Toronto will afford them that time is another question all together.

200+ Channels With Sports & News
  • Starting price: $33/mo. for fubo Latino Package
  • Watch Premier League, World Cup, Euro 2024 & more
  • Includes NBC, USA, FOX, ESPN, CBSSN & more
Live & On Demand TV Streaming
  • Price: $69.99/mo. for Entertainment package
  • Watch World Cup, Euro 2024 & MLS
  • Includes ESPN, ESPN2, FS1 + local channels
Many Sports & ESPN Originals
  • Price: $6.99/mo. (or get ESPN+, Hulu & Disney+ for $13.99/mo.)
  • Features Bundesliga, LaLiga, Championship, & more
  • Also includes daily ESPN FC news & highlights show
2,000+ soccer games per year
  • Price: $4.99/mo
  • Features Champions League, Serie A, Europa League & NWSL
  • Includes CBS, Star Trek & CBS Sports HQ
175 Premier League Games & PL TV
  • Starting price: $4.99/mo. for Peacock Premium
  • Watch 175 exclusive EPL games per season
  • Includes Premier League TV channel plus movies, TV shows & more


  1. Ossington Mental Youth

    February 3, 2011 at 4:37 pm

    yeaaaaaaah its back

  2. Kris

    February 3, 2011 at 3:20 pm

    You think so OMY? Either way I don’t think he’d want to see the team suffer, I’ve seen it happen at all levels right down to amateur, the more experienced man sometimes struggles to do the lower role.

    However there are examples of it working well.

  3. Ossington Mental Youth

    February 3, 2011 at 8:47 am

    you deleted my cold induced rant.
    it was a good’un too.

  4. Ossington Mental Youth

    February 2, 2011 at 9:59 pm

    also if this fails its likely to be Winter whos out of the job as head coach and Mariner taking his place.

  5. Ossington Mental Youth

    February 2, 2011 at 9:57 pm

    sure its winter’s first time as a head coach of hte first team however he was head coach of the reserve team for many years as well as the academy. hes got a decent background and mariner knew this coming in. I dont think Mariner will abandon ship yet especially as he is getting paid particularly well adn saw how difficult it was at plymouth. Perhaps in time it could happen but i dont think its going to be this season or even the season after and by tehn we should have ample scouts in place, an academy creating players and a coach that understands the intricacies of the league.

    theyve stated tehy want to keep dero, however dero has stated he wont play if his contract isnt sorted, thats with the MLS (not with TFC which has offered another 200k, to make 600k in total, which Dero believes he deserves more). who has stated on record that he has to honor his contract. Do some googling and youll see the Toronto Star interview i speak of. Regardless i dont think that they will have a prob ridding of him if he kicks up a stink, granted he might put himself out of the league by doing so before hand.

    im gonna stop now as this is a cold induced rant. i appreciate your argument but i dont think its going to work in hte manner you suggest

  6. Kris

    February 2, 2011 at 5:37 pm

    Couldn’t agree more Re: DeRosario Charles. As I said in my article, 26 of 70 goals come from him, if they won’t let him train with Celtic they should be renewing his deal with whatever he wants.

    • Gazza

      February 2, 2011 at 8:56 pm

      TFC let him train with Celtic until they began training camp in Turkey because guess what TFC pays his salary. If Celtic wanted to buy his contract then they should of. Fact is DeRo whined about his contract in Houston – was traded to Toronto for a bag of balls. Toronto tore up his contract gave him more money and the security of a long term deal yet now he wants to be paid even more. Not going to happen. If he had just kept his mouth shut 2 years ago he would be a free agent today.

  7. Charles

    February 2, 2011 at 3:12 pm

    let me get a jump on Toronto fans, if anyone can screw it up Toronto can.

    I actually don’t believe that. It is tough in a parity league and they are trying, just haven’t been quite good enough…and they have never had a Red Bulls ( 2 years ago ) and DC (last year ) year yet.

    Their fans deserve it, I hope this is the year. That second spot ( depending on playoff structure, with the rediculous 10 teams ) in the East is WIDE open.

  8. Kris

    February 2, 2011 at 3:00 pm

    Hi Dan,

    That’s a big if though, they have a very young squad too, I think DeRo feels very hurt with the way he’s been handled.

    Maybe come back to us at the end of the season haha.

    • Charles

      February 2, 2011 at 3:14 pm

      Wouldn’t you ? Team raking in the bucks, but not willing to pay the man helping make it happen ?

      • Gazza

        February 2, 2011 at 8:45 pm

        DeRo has nothing to do with MLSE racking in the bucks.

  9. dan

    February 2, 2011 at 12:23 pm

    Disagree. If Winter can get the ego’s in check, mainly DeRo, he can make this work.

    And seriously though, aren’t we just buying our time with Toronto fans until they jump ship if they team keeps performing so horrible? They need a successful club up there!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

More in Leagues: MLS

Translate »