Closer To Draft Decision?
Ft. Lauderdale, FL – The adidas Player Combine is winding down with the last set of matches on Tuesday morning. On Monday – Day 5 – player-coach meetings picked up steam. For many athletes, it was their last one-on-one encounter with prospective MLS employers until Thursday’s SuperDraft that will result in new 2013 football addresses for many.
For Toronto FC, these interviews are vital because of the value president and general manager Kevin Payne places on personal character and intelligence. The new boss has been clear that he only wants players that will work hard for the badge. To guide this sentiment, he has already appointed associates he knows as capable stewards in new head coach Ryan Nelsen and his assistant Fran O’Leary.
Now the task is to find players, either at the SuperDraft using the first and third overall selections, or by trading them for individuals more to his liking, to furnish Nelsen’s dressing room.
One TFC management veteran who is familiar with Payne's approach from their time together at D.C. United is director of team and player operations, Earl Cochrane.
"We just went through a full day of interviews," Cochrane told Toronto FC TV at the conclusion of those meetings with several players, each of them visiting an executive suite to answer questions posed to them by the TFC technical staff. An intimidating atmosphere for some, though Cochrane believes the Reds have found what they were seeking.
"Some guys didn't surprise us at all. Others did surprise us. We were pleasantly surprised by what we heard from guys and what they valued."
When asked if the interviews helped narrow the search for a coveted SuperDraft gem, Cochrane responded "we're absolutely certain we're going to find the guy."
Having two picks in the top three, Cochrane and co. have been running up roaming charges with incoming offers that will only intensify leading to Thursday, as teams look to make an impact on the SuperDraft floor. Cochrane said "the conversations have started already, the conversations will continue."
By that admission, Toronto seems open to trade possibilities though for now, the club was quite content with some of the collegiate players that came through the door for a chat.
"We're pretty happy, we had a pretty good day today," Cochrane concluded.