Photo: Paul Mariner (left) and Earl Cochrane were joined by Paul Beirne & Thomas Rongen.
Toronto FC concluded its 2012 Town Hall meetings on Wednesday night, a total of four sessions from the Rogers Club at BMO Field, one of which was streamed live on TorontoFC.ca with season seat holders and fans asking questions both from the audience and online.
Paul Mariner, head coach and director of soccer operations, was joined by director of team and player operations Earl Cochrane to answer most of the first team football and player transaction-related questions. They were joined by TFC Academy director Thomas Rongen and Paul Beirne, senior director, business operations.
Mariner started the night by welcoming the audience and conveying his vision for the 2013 season:
One of the early questions, and it was a popular one in-house and online, was about improving on mistakes made in 2012. Here is what Mariner had to say:
Questions concerning the Academy were popular. One from a Twitter follower asked about any potential first team signings from the Academy in 2013, which Rongen addressed:
Returning to the first team, Mariner was asked what would be his measure of success in 2013:
One passionate season seat holder contrasted the optimism of March, when Toronto knocked LA Galaxy out of the Champions League, to the poor results the Reds accumulated during the season ending on a long winless streak. He was answered by Beirne and Cochrane, respectively speaking to matchday inconveniences and more importantly, a focus on quality football:
When injuries took their toll during the 2012 season, the club called on many inexperienced players to fill the void. Mariner hopes to have a 2013 squad where each player is eager to prove himself:
These are just a few of the many issues addressed during each session, all of them going past the allotted 60 minutes. The events took place in the same week that Toronto ends its 2013 season seat renewal efforts (Friday, November 23).
Toronto expects to have a busy offseason with a number of player transactions. Mariner revealed he identified six players on a recent scouting trip and has tabled some offers. The club also holds the first overall MLS SuperDraft pick in January and will have a chance to assess - pending salary cap flexibility - MLS players available in the league's Re-Entry draft that will take place in December.