Toronto FC Academy Quick Facts

HISTORY, FACILITIES AND ENVIRONMENT

  • At TFCA, our goal is to create the best professional environment for soccer education in North America, which is evident not only in the facilities, but the opportunity of our athletes to interact with our first team players on a regular basis in the halls of the Training Ground
  • Toronto FC was founded in 2007, becoming the first Canadian team to compete in Major League Soccer. The Toronto FC Academy was launched in 2008, creating a blueprint for professional player development within Canada
  • The Training Ground was built in 2012 for $23 million. It is an all-purpose, state of the art 40,000 square foot training facility with four full-sized grass fields and four synthetic turf fields, two of which, can be converted for indoor play during the winter months. Field maintenance is handled by Robert Heggie, who was named North American Sports Turf Manager of the Year in 2015
    • 8 team locker rooms (5 with wet areas)
    • 4 coaches’ locker rooms (3 with wet areas)
    • 2,810 square foot two story gym
    • Dining Room – fully staffed kitchen
    • Classroom
    • Amphitheatre
    • Medical rooms (one allocated to the First Team and one to the Academy)
    • High Performance room
    • First Team lounge
    • Academy lounge

PLAYER DEVELOPMENT

  • Toronto FC Academy began in 2008 with two teams in the U-16 and U-18 brackets and now has a full player pathway from U-10 to U-20, Toronto FC II and the First Team (see player pathway here)
  • Toronto FC Academy has over 150 athletes
  • Toronto FC has a partnership with the Ontario Soccer Association which recognizes Toronto FC’s pathway as the elite pathway in Ontario for aspiring professionals. The partnership is centered around building grassroots soccer and player identification
  • In 2014 Toronto FC acquired their own USL franchise (Toronto FC II) and acts as a stepping stone between Toronto FC Academy and the First Team
  • The Toronto FC Academy identifies talented players from all over Ontario (GTA, Ottawa, Kitchener-Waterloo, Barrie) and North America, with certain players being placed into residency with local families*

*Please reference FIFA international transfer certificate rules for a full understanding of player transfer rules and requirements. 

BECOMING A PROFESSIONAL PLAYER

  • Toronto FC signed their first homegrown player on August 26, 2010 (Doneil Henry, Defender)
  • Ashtone Morgan became the first Toronto FC player who achieved 100 caps for TFC. He is also a TFC homegrown player
  • Toronto FC has signed a total of 23 players to professional contracts: 12 homegrown players to first team contracts (#3 in MLS)
    • Nicholas Lindsay, Doneil Henry, Ashtone Morgan, Mat Stinson, Oscar Cordon, Keith Makubuya, Quillan Roberts, Manny Aparicio, Jordan Hamilton, Chris Mannella, Jay Chapman, Molham Babouli
  • Toronto FC has signed a total of 11 homegrown players to Toronto FC II (USL) contracts (#1 in MLS)
    • Molham Babouli, Luca Uccello, Anthony Osorio, Malik Johnson. Martin Davis, Liam Fraser, Mark-Anthony Kaye, Daniel Fabrizi, Marco Nunes, Aiden Daniels, Shaan Hundal

STAFF AND SERVICES

  • One full-time Academy Director, six full-time coaches and four part-time coaches
  • Full service Medical Department overseen by the First Team Director of Sport Science, with two full-time Athletic Therapists, dedicated to treating the Academy athletes
  • Full service Equipment Department overseen by the Manager of Equipment Operations, with one full-time staff member solely responsible for the Academy equipment

EDUCATION DEPARTMENT

  • The Academy has a Manager of Education whose sole responsibility is to help athletes achieve academic excellence and broaden their future options (soccer, school)
  • Services provided to our athletes include:
    • NCAA information seminars
    • SAT diagnostic test and prep course
    • Tutoring sessions
    • Co-op course programming, created by Toronto FC and hosted at The Training Ground
    • Academic timetabling support, which allows athletes flexibility in their schedule and a more manageable lifestyle
  • Toronto FC Academy holds an annual College Showcase for our high school athletes where the best college coaches in Canada and the U.S. come to the Training Ground to scout our athletes (Toronto FC College Showcase – May)
  • Academy athletes have enrolled/graduated/earned scholarships at the following schools: Manhattan College, University of Toronto, St. John’s University, Ryerson University, Duke University, Florida Gulf Coast University, Coastal California University, Drake University, Syracuse University, York University, UC Santa Barbara, Grand Canyon University, Pittsburgh University, Oregon State, Michigan State, Sheridan College, University of Maryland

SOCCER CURRICULUM

  • Toronto FC has a specific club curriculum, which outlines the club’s unique coaching methodology and pedagogy, that is utilized for all Academy teams, Toronto FC II and the First Team
  • Our High Performance Department targets our high potential athletes and provides a curriculum, on top of their soccer, to help our athletes reach their full potential, whether that level is collegiate, USL, MLS or in Europe
  • Each athlete in the Academy has an Individualized Development Plan (IDP) that evaluates and scores each player in the eight areas of Toronto FC’s holistic player evaluation methodology (click here for 8 areas)

COMPETITION

  • The competition structure for the Toronto FC Academy is a blend of the following:
    • The best local competition in Ontario [League 1, Ontario Soccer League (OSL), Ontario Youth Soccer League (OSYL), Ontario Player Development League (OPDL), York Region Soccer League (YRSA)]
    • The highest level of competition in the United States [Generation adidas Cup*, US Soccer Development Academy (USSDA) Showcases, Dallas Cup, etc.]
    • Top rated tournaments all over the world (Italy, Spain, France, Croatia, Qatar, South Africa, Mexico)
    • All Academy teams participate in International competition on an annual basis
  • Toronto FC II competes in the United Soccer League (USL), which is a professional men's soccer league in the United States and Canada.
  • Generation adidas Cup: Every year Toronto FC Academy competes in MLS’ Generation adidas Cup (GA Cup). The GA Cup is a U-17 tournament, in which all MLS clubs in the US (and Toronto FC) compete. The tournament format involves MLS clubs divided into three conferences (Western, Central and Eastern); each group participates in two regional events (the first is over Thanksgiving weekend in October, and the second is over Family Day weekend in February). The top two MLS clubs from each group moves on to the Champion Division in the GA Cup final, which is hosted over Easter weekend.  Top International teams from all over the world are invited in to compete against the top MLS clubs as part of the Champions Division. In 2016, the following teams competed against the top MLS clubs, including our own TFCA team - Valencia, Mexico U-17, River Plate, Aspire Academy, Universidad de Chile, Villarreal.

ACADEMY ACHIEVEMENTS

  • Toronto FC Academy U-17 teams have qualified for the Champions Division of the Generation adidas Cup, since the division’s inception in 2013
  • Toronto FC Academy U-12 teams have competed in the elite U-12 division of the GA Cup since its inception (2015 – 1st place and 2016 – 6th place)
  • Toronto FC consistently has the highest number of athletes called up to represent Canada (during International games and camps) at all age groups 

HEALTH, NUTRITION & COGNITION

  • Toronto FC is the only club in MLS that has a High Performance Department which focuses on the cognitive development of all athletes (First Team, TFC II, Academy athletes (U-10 to U-20)
  • Academy athletes undergo concussion baseline testing at the beginning of each season through our partnership with Holland Bloorview Hospital, the first partnership of its kind in MLS
  • Academy therapists work in collaboration with the full-time kitchen staff to ensure Academy meals at Training Ground and offsite (during tournaments), meet the nutrition requirements of young athletes

YOUNG PROFESSIONALS PROGRAM (“YPP”)

  • Toronto FC Academy has a unique program designed for athletes who have been identified as a top talent within the Academy or who are currently on the TFC II team
  • The program is a collaborative effort between coaches, the Director of High Performance and the Director of Sport Science
  • Athletes are put in optimal learning environments with the objective of improving their neurological skills and decision making on the field
  • Advanced technology is used in the process of monitoring their neurological development
  • Athletes are also taught skills that are imperative to the life of a professional athlete (public speaking, social media, on camera interviews etc.)

FREE TO PLAY

  • The Toronto FC Academy is 100% free to play
  • Through Toronto FC Academy’s sponsorship with Adidas, all athletes’ equipment needs (cleats, jerseys, goalie gloves) are supplied by adidas at no cost
  • Academy athletes have access to a full cafeteria, at no cost, where they are served meals following training on a daily basis
  • The club covers all costs related to the annual events pertaining to an athletes’ training:
    • League registration costs
    • International and domestic trips for tournaments and league play (accommodation, meals, flights, buses, travel insurance)
  • Stipends available for athletes who need financial support to cover commute costs
  • Opportunities to train abroad are available to certain identified athletes, organized and paid for by the club

MORE THAN FOOTBALL

  • Every year Toronto FC hosts all Toronto FC Academy athletes and families down at BMO Field for an Academy Achievement Day (a celebration of our athletes and their hard work)
  • Toronto FC Academy athletes participate in an annual fundraiser, in support of Toronto Community Housing’s Kick Start program (a free 8 week soccer camp for under resourced youth), which in three years has raised more than $35,000.00
  • January 2016 marked the first Toronto FC Academy Exclusive Referee Clinic where 18 Toronto FC Academy athletes became certified referees, allowing them to officiate both Toronto FC Academy Exhibition games, and community games
  • At Toronto FC Academy we provide our athletes with various work and volunteer opportunities throughout the season (allowing our athletes to hone their leadership skills)
  • For every Toronto FC home game, ten Academy athletes are ball boys, giving them the opportunity to intimately experience the professional game of our USL and first team