Toronto FC announced Sunday that effective immediately Greg Vanney has been named the club’s head coach replacing Ryan Nelsen, who has been relieved of his duties.
“I believe in the group of players we have here at Toronto FC. This is a group that we know is capable of winning and it’s our job to put them in a position to be successful. Our recent results have fallen below our expectations and a change was needed,” said Toronto FC General Manager Tim Bezbatchenko. “Greg is a person that possesses all the qualities that align with our vision for Toronto FC. I’d like to thank Ryan and the coaches for their efforts and wish them well in their future endeavours.”
Vanney, 40, originally joined Toronto FC on December 11, 2013 as the club’s Assistant General Manager and Academy Director. Vanney holds a USSF “A” Coaching License and has been involved with the U.S. Soccer Development Academy. He is also currently taking part in the Elite Formation Coaching Licence program, a development course partnered by Major League Soccer (MLS) and the French Football Federation.
“I’m very honoured to be named head coach of Toronto FC and I am looking forward to working with an exceptional group of players,” said Toronto FC Head Coach Greg Vanney. “This is a time for all of us to come together and achieve our goal of making the playoffs for the first time in club history. We’re in a good position in the standings. I know the players in our room believe in each other and we are looking forward to a positive response on Wednesday”
Vanney previously held titles of Director of Soccer Operations and Director of Real Salt Lake-Arizona Youth Academy at Grande Sports World. It was there that he oversaw program and business development at the Grande Sports World facility. Vanney, Grande Sports World, and Real Salt Lake were responsible for creation of the first MLS Residential Academy in the United States, which began play in the Fall of 2010. Vanney also held a dual role at Chivas USA from 2011-2012 as assistant coach under Robin Fraser and technical director of the youth academy.
Vanney played professionally for 13 years, starting with the LA Galaxy in 1996. During his time with the Galaxy, Vanney helped lead the club to three MLS Cup championship finals, one Supporter's Shield, a US Open Cup Championship and a CONCACAF Champions Cup title. He was named to the MLS Best XI in 2000 and 2001. Following the 2001 season, Vanney transferred to SC Bastia, of France’s Ligue 1, where he remained until 2005 helping the club reach the Coup de France Final in 2002. He re-joined MLS, signing with FC Dallas and spent two seasons with the Hoops; where he earned two All-Star selections, captaining the 2005 team to a 4-0 victory over Fulham. Vanney was traded to the Colorado Rapids in January 2007, and then to D.C. United later that same season. Vanney re-joined the LA Galaxy in February 2008 and retired at the conclusion of the season. During his playing career, Vanney earned 36 caps and scored one goal for the United States Men’s National team. Vanney was added to the U.S. 2002 FIFA World Cup preliminary squad, but missed the tournament due to injury and was also part of the U.S. side that won the 2005 CONCACAF Gold Cup.
In addition, Assistant Coaches Fran O’Leary, Jim Brennan, Duncan Oughton, Goalkeeper Coach Stewart Kerr, and Strength and Conditioning Coach Adrian Lamb have all been relieved of their duties. Assistant Coach Jason Bent has been offered a position to remain with the club.
Nelsen was originally hired on January 8, 2013. In two seasons, Nelsen lead Toronto FC to a combined record of 18-28-18 in MLS league play, and the Amway Canadian Championship.