Toronto FC announced Monday that Laurent Guyot has been named the club’s Academy Director. He will assume his new role with Toronto FC on August 1, 2015.
“We are very excited to bring Laurent on board at Toronto FC. His hiring aligns with our vision for Toronto FC to measure ourselves at an international standard and the importance we place on development at both the youth and coaching levels,” said Toronto FC General Manager Tim Bezbatchenko. “It was important for us to hire someone that was familiar with and understood both North America and the landscape of Major League Soccer. Laurent has spent the better part of the past two years studying our league and its teams as part of his work as an instructor of the EFCL course for academy directors and coaches across the MLS.”
Guyot, 45, joins Toronto FC after most recently serving as the U-16 head coach for the French National Team. In addition to his duties as head coach, Guyot served as an instructor with the French Football Federation (FFF) teaching both the youth pro licence and pro licence coaching programs. Over the past two years, Guyot also served as an instructor for the Elite Formation Coaching Licence (EFCL) program. The program is a partnership between the FFF and Major League Soccer, featuring a 16-month long youth development course, where academy coaches and directors would receive their EFCL licence, equivalent to the FFF’s youth pro licence. Guyot is one of few coaches to hold both his Youth Coaching Licence which he earned in 2005, and his Professional Coaching Licence which he earned in 2008.
“I am very happy and proud to join Toronto FC. I understand the importance of this position having worked in the same role for FC Nantes and most recently for the French U-16 and U-17 National Teams. I am looking forward to working with our academy coaches and sharing the responsibility of growing and developing our young players. We will need time and plenty of hard work to achieve our goal of providing the first team with several home grown players,” said Toronto FC Academy Director Laurent Guyot. “I must thank those that provided me with this fantastic opportunity including the Board of Directors for Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, Tim Bezbatchenko and Greg Vanney. My family and I are all very excited and look forward to arriving in Toronto and working on this fantastic project.”
Guyot began his coaching career in July 2002 as a youth coach with French club, FC Nantes. It was there he coached the U-15, U-18 and reserve side over the course of seven years. In January 2005, Guyot was named academy director of FC Nantes in addition to his coaching duties. He held both the position of academy director and coach until his departure in June 2009. During his time with FC Nantes, Guyot oversaw the development of a number of top players including: French international midfielder Dmitri Payet (now of West Ham United) and midfielder Jordan Veretout (FC Nantes), who won the U-20 FIFA World Cup with France in 2013. Following his time with FC Nantes, Guyot was named head coach of French Ligue 1 club, US Boulogne in July 2009 where he remained until December 2010. Guyot was later named head coach of French club, CS Sedan Ardennes in July 2011 and remained with the club for two seasons. He joined the FFF as the head coach of the U-17 team in July 2013.
“We are all looking forward to adding Laurent to our leadership team here at TFC. I've gotten to know Laurent as a person, coach and educator over the past two years, and he's the perfect fit to continue to guide our academy project athletes and staff coaches,” said Toronto FC Head Coach Greg Vanney. “We are all very excited to bring him to Toronto FC and continue to establish our Academy as one of the best in Major League Soccer.”
Prior to his coaching career, Guyot played professionally for 14 years as a centre back, mainly for FC Nantes where he won the Ligue 1 title during the 1994-95 season. He began his playing career in the youth academy of FC Nantes and signed professionally in 1988. He remained with FC Nantes until the conclusion of the 1997-98 season. He joined Toulouse FC in July 1998 and played for one season before signing with EA Guingamp in July 1999. In total, Guyot played in 290 matches in Ligue 1 and 36 matches in Ligue 2 during his career, including matches in both the Europa League and UEFA Champions League. Guyot also represented his native France internationally at the U-17, U-18, U-20 and U-21 levels.