Greg Vanney, who led Toronto FC to respectability and then helped fill its trophy case, is stepping down as the Major League Soccer club’s head coach and technical director.
The club made the announcement Tuesday, in the aftermath of last week’s playoff loss to Nashville SC.
Vanney’s departure was not expected although delays in sorting out a new contract had raised questions. His current deal expires at the end of the 2020 season.
An emotional Vanney thanked his players, staff and TFC’s ownership, saying it was the right time to move on.
“I’m a builder. I like to build things and I like projects and I like big things,” he told reporters. “And this club is in a really really good place. There’s not a lot of building to do. It is an incredible club that is positioned, from where we started to where we are, to be great.”
WATCH | Longest tenured Toronto FC head coach steps away:
The father of four said his departure had nothing to do with money or other contract terms, calling it a “personal family decision.” He praised the club for its patience “while I worked through this entire process.”
Toronto says the search for Vanney’s replacement will begin immediately.
The 46-year-old Vanney, who also broke up in thanking the Toronto fans, said he had been mulling over his future for some time but especially after finally being able to spend some time with his family after the regular season.
He said he had not thought “a ton” about the future but wanted to spend time with his family and “regroup.” There are openings elsewhere, including the Los Angeles Galaxy.
Vanney is the longest tenured coach in TFC history, holding every coaching record, including games coached (250) and wins (112).
2017 MLS coach of the year
A finalist for coach of the year, Vanney led TFC to the second-best regular-season record at 13-5-5 in a difficult 2020 campaign. Forced to play all but four games away from BMO Field because of travel restrictions caused by the pandemic, injury-plagued Toronto limped into the playoffs losing three of its last four regular-season games.
The post-season ended quickly in a 1-0 extra-time loss to expansion Nashville.
WATCH | Nashville ends Toronto FC’s season early:
Vanney originally joined TFC in December 2013 as the club’s assistant general manager and academy director. Named head coach in August 2014 after Ryan Nelsen was fired, Vanney inherited a 9-9-6 team that had never made the playoffs.
He turned [Toronto FC] into an MLS champion. More than that, he is of high character and a great family man.— Team president Bill Manning on Vanney
He took the club into the post-season in 2015 and went on to guide TFC to the MLS Cup final in 2016, 2017 and 2019, winning the title in 2017 on home soil.
Vanney also coached Toronto to the Supporters’ Shield and Canadian Championship in 2017, becoming the first MLS club to win a domestic treble. He was named MLS and CONCACAF coach of the year that season.
Toronto qualified for the playoffs under Vanney five of the past six seasons and captured three Canadian championships since 2016.
TFC president Bill Manning praised Vanney in a statement.
“I wish Greg nothing but the best in the future,” Manning said. “Back in 2014 he took over the head coach duties for a team that had never made the playoffs and turned them into an MLS champion. More than that, he is of high character and a great family man. I thank him for time well served for our club, his legacy here in Toronto is secure.”
Vanney had all three of his sons in TFC colours. His twins were part of the academy while his youngest boy was in the TFC Juniors program.
Published at Tue, 01 Dec 2020 15:23:31 +0000