Details of the Toronto FC II Season Seat Holder Ticket Pick Up Event held at KIA Training Centre in Downsview on Wednesday April 6th between 6:00pm and 8:00pm.
Fans arrived between these times to pick up their tickets cut like linked sausages inside an envelope along with a letter issued with TFC president Bill Manning, GM Tim Bezbatchenko, and TFCII head coach Jason Bent outlining the purpose of TFC II—player development. Also we were given a seat cushion with the TFC II logo.
We could also eat finger foods in the player’s cafeteria, take a tour of the facilties and have our picture taken in front of a green screen that produced a picture of us on the sideline at the Ontario Soccer Centre.
The bubble covering the plastic field at KIA is still up for a few more weeks. The natural field is left to the elements.
I felt last year’s organizing of the team and setup seemed rushed from the decision to start their own team instead of shipping a handful of players to play with Wilmington Hammerheads in 2014.
This year’s schedule is better in that no TFC II home game is on the same day as a TFC game unlike last year when about four II games started withing hours of the MLS team’ games ending on the other end of the city. This year all home games will be held at the Ontario Soccer Centre in Vaughan (last year their first two were piggybacked at BMO Field as the OSC was undergoing renovations).
Their home schedule starts earlier this year Sunday April 17th against Pittsburgh Riverhounds after only two games on the road. They’ve played one game so far—a 2-2 tie with New York Red Bulls 2 and this weekend are away to FC Montreal.
Some fans and TFC staff who have been up the OSC grounds say there are no stands erected so far this year. Last year with a late start, there were plankboard and aluminum stands which looked like leftovers from the Molson Indy races which had ended the week before with portapotties and catering food trucks providing the only conveniences. This year? Who knows.
TFC II head coach Jason Bent and assistant coach Chris Pozniak were there to greet and mingle with fans along with about two dozen players. Bent coached TFC II last year and was head coach of the very first TFC Academy team in 2008 when they played in the CSL. I remember Pozniak from the A-League Toronto Lynx days but he also played with TFC in their early years.
Bent answered my question about the roster being so small with only 24 listed on the league website which has been updated to include players loaned down from their MLS team (I counted four—forward Mo Babouli, midfielder Chris Mannella, goalie Alex Bono, and defender Mark Bloom). He said the roster limit is thirty with a flexible addition of five spots in transition and they may be adding to their current roster.
Things to see included a personalized tour of the facilities. I’d seen it before in previous years at TFC barbeques but went around with holding midfielder Steven Furlano who moved up from TFC Academy in the middle of last year.
Now that he has blond hair I couldn’t recognize him for sure–but then a pair of glasses worked for Clark Kent! I reminded him that it was League 1 Ontario staff, not me, that misspelled his name last year on their own game report.
Chris Mannella was the easiest to recognize player. He also started in the Academy and was the U-20 Young Star winner in League 1 Ontario in 2014 with the league misspelling his name on the trophy. He said this year he’s starting back for TFC II (he was last year’s captain) and has not been with their MLS team so far this season but is waiting his chance.
Stuart Neely was there tonight. He said he will coach the League 1 Ontario team which will once again be their Under 17s (1999’s). Their 2015 team was middle of the pack. L1O rules could have them go with mostly U23s but their 2014 team ran the table that year. Neely will also coach the USL PDL league team which will have some of their L1O players, TFC II, and some players who are away at universities at this time. He will also will coach their U16s who are in the OYSL. He wasn’t sure this would be the last season of being able to operate a PDL league team as he is aware of the CSA trying to drive the league out of Southern Ontario.
I recognized some of the fans from games over the years. David Guzman who was a TFC player in 2007 was there with his young son.
The full list of TFC II players as of now and how they ended up on the team:
(loaned down from MLS):
11 Mo Babouli FWD—TFC II in 2015, TFC this year
20 Chris Mannella MID—TFC II and TFC last year
25 Alex Bono GKP—TFC II last year
28 Mark Bloom DEF—TFC last year (although injured most of 2015)
(TFC II contracted players from 2015)
31 Sal Bernal MID
32 Wesley Charpie DEF
34 Skylar Thomas DEF
37 Adam Bouchard DEF
45 Luca Uccello MID
61 Bubacarr Jobe MID
48 Raheem Edwards MID played many games with TFC II in 2015)
MLS 2016 Draft Choices
36 Brian James MID
42 Mitchell Taintor DEF
TFC Academy Grads
43 Andrew Dias DEF
47 Nikola Stakic DEF
49 Martin Davis MID
50 Richie Ennin MID
51 Robert Boskovic DEF
53 Steven Furlano DEF
55 Aidan Daniels MID
56 Malik Johnson MID
58 Anthony Osorio DEF
63 Liam Fraser MID
— Phillip Boerger GK (actually he’s a goalkeeping coach)
My opinion is the team should improve on their 6 wins, 17 losses, 5 ties, 11th place of 12 Eastern teams record of last season from them not having to loan players out the Canadian National teams U-20s and PanAm games (nor the Olympics this year).