TFC II officially announced
The hits just keep on coming for Toronto FC, with varying degrees of importance. Kyle Bekker going to FC dallas for allocation money broke yesterday though it’s still not official. Difficult to say if it’s a good deal without knowing how many garberbucks we get back, and there is now of course the chance for him to be just the next player who improves after leaving and makes us look silly, but all in all, that’ll have a very minor impact on TFC’s future. A potentially bigger impact, though just a short term one, Sebastian Giovinco might get released from his Juventus contract early and join up before the start of the season. Tim Bezbatchenko denied that this morning saying they hadn’t had any discussions with Juventus, but that sentence has large truck sized holes in it doesn’t it, so there’s a good chance of that happening, which would be useful. Also yesterday, 3 more players got scraped from the very bottom of the SuperDraft barrel, Michael Ramos, Salvador Bernal and Tyler Engel. The chances of any of them settling with the first team are minimal, but definitely better than those who came earlier as they’ll get a chance to show off their stuff with the USL pro team, and that’s the most important bit of news for the week.
Yes, earlier today, at a press conference in Vaughan, the details for TFC’s USL PRO team were unveiled. Of course we already knew the important stuff, ie that this team was actually going to exist, and it’s undeniably a good thing for TFC and for the game as a whole in Canada. An extra team, a stepping stone to help with the big jump from academy to the first team that has seen plenty of young prospects fall short, will be very useful. Who knows where the likes of Matt Stinson, Keith Makubuya and others might be if this had been an option for them back in the day. Hopefully the likes of Jordan Hamilton or Chris Manella, the aforementioned new draft picks and whoever else might find themselves there will benefit from the extra playing time and be more ready to make that next step to Original TFC.
The plan is apparently to have 10-14 players signed specifically to TFC II to provide a stable backbone to the team, which would then be supplemented by 2-6 first teamers on loan at any time, presumably younger kids or perhaps veterans coming back from injuries or who just need a game or two of playing time, with academy players filling in the remaining gaps. I do like that there’s going to be that basic core of a team there, I’d like to think they’ll be trying to have this team be competitive in the league, trying to win it, rather than just thinking of it as a development stage for the first team. A league full of teams that move players around willy nilly at the whim of their parent club and don’t care that much about their own results probably isn’t going to be all that healthy. Obviously there’s a balance to be struck between those 2 goals, but I hope it doesn’t go too far towards TFC I.
All undeniably good news, as is the investment in the facilities there to build the appropriately sized stadium that will also be used for League 1 and the OPDL as well as other community stuff. Well done to all concerned, but you don’t come here for simple applause do you, so let’s get into the fun stuff around the edges of this.
Other details that were long rumoured but just confirmed and then announced this week are that the team will play in Vaughan, at the Ontario Soccer Centre. Vaughan Mayor Maurizio Bevilacqua had this to say, presumably due to some kind of Rob Ford-esque stupor “I have been working to bring a professional sports organization to Vaughan since becoming Mayor and today my dream has become reality,” Professional. Tee Hee. Do you want to tell him or should I?
Also the team will indeed be known as TFC II, dull on it’s own though with lots of room for you to insert your own movie sequel nickname at the end (The Wrath of Vaughan, Attack of the clowns, Muppets take Vaughan, Their first assignment, The new batch, the options are endless really) so can’t complain too much I guess. I’m hereby pledging to refer to them as the Captains.
The logo? Actually not bad at all given the hawk based nonsense they foisted on the academy. Instead it’s just the TFC logo, but with the big T in the middle replaced with an II. Simple, classy, effective, I’m no logo nerd but it looks good to me, no room to make fun there.
New website. A few videos with Jason Bent, Bezbatchenko, Vanney and co talking it up, as well as with picture of what the stadium will look like in various phases of development. I’m amused, though also kind of impressed, that their plans involve quite so many empty seats, as seen above.
Looking at other photos on the website, what crowd there is appears to be made up of bro’s checking out the ladies, and ghosts. Check it out
Then we get to the pricing, you can buy a season ticket for $96, or $8 a game. No word yet on what the pricing will be for single games. That got a bit of criticism on twitter, what with this being essentially a reserve team in a d3 league, but I’m actually ok with that. I think it’s fair to charge something and that doesn’t seem excessively excessive to me. Unless the single game prices are noticeably higher, I can’t imagine that being an obstacle to those that want to attend and as I said before with regards to the makeup of the team, I like the idea of them treating it as it’s own, professional, entity rather than merely a development project, so charging for attendance fits in with that, obviously time will tell as far as attendance goes.
The bigger obstacle, for me and for anyone living in Toronto reliant on transit to get around would be the location, up there in Vaughan, though it’s close enough to the 427 and highway 7 to be relatively easy to get to by car. Obviously there’ll be plenty of people that this is a convenient location for so hopefully they get out to the games, I won’t be buying a season ticket, but I’d definitely like to get to a few games throughout the season.
Once again, well done TFC, it’s hardly revolutionary, and it’s not as headline grabbing as Altidore and Giovinco, but this is something that should have a much bigger long term impact, not just for the club, but for the local soccer community as a whole.