May 15, 2008 MLS Toronto FC Academy to compete in CSL (from Toronto FC Media Relations)

05/15/2008 5:05PM
TFC Academy to compete in CSL
Toronto development team to participate in men's summer league
Toronto FC Media Relations

Toronto FC Academy is competing in the Canadian Soccer League this summer, and the first game of the new season is Friday, May 16th, against reigning CSL Champions Toronto Croatia. The game is being played at Lamport Stadium; kick off 8:00 p.m.

TFC Academy Head Coach Nick Dasovic tells, being part of the CSL is all about helping the players to develop. "It's a league where our boys can grow as a team and we can test them," he said. "It's not so much about results, it's about learning how to be a professional footballer, being in a professional environment, training with the top people and having the opportunity to train at BMO Field with the first team staff who are going to get heavily involved as well."

"I'm not sure what to expect because it's boys playing in a league of men, so there's a bit of apprehension for me to see how the boys are going to react and how the other teams are going to react playing against kids. It's going to be a learning curve but I'm excited for the boys that they can play in a league together."

Success will not be measured by how well the team does in the league, but by how the players develop over the course of the year. Dasovic believes the goal is simple: to develop players who can make the transition to the reserve team, and ultimately fight for a first team place. Success to me would be if one of those kids can knock on the reserve team's door next season," he explained. "Then having more and more kids able to do that year after year. It's like when you're coaching a provincial team. For me, rather than winning provincial titles you want to see how many of those kids can represent Canada. That's what we're about, helping our kids to make it."

Toronto FC Academy is still in its early days, but Dasovic believes they are laying the foundation for future success. "There are some very talented players. The biggest issue we will have is changing the work habits. The way the kids come and train. They haven't been in professional environments before and they need to learn to bring that professional mentality and that's what we've got to get out of these kids because we don't have that culture here in Canada yet."

"We want to build a culture of football here, so that the kids can feel the atmosphere. It would be great to get people out to watch the Academy so that the players get to experience playing in front of a good crowd. Then they have something to aspire to because they will want to play in front of bigger crowds every week. I hope the fans understand it will be a learning process for everybody involved. It's not about us winning the Championship, it's getting these kids experience."

TFC Academy couldn't have a more difficult start to the CSL season, opening up against the defending Champions. "We're playing in a very competitive league, and it's a very difficult start against Toronto Croatia, so we know we've got our backs against the wall. We'll let the kids know, we want to promote football, so go out there and play and we'll learn as we go along. We haven't had a lot of time to go through tactics and game situations because we've only had a few sessions with the team, but it's about bringing the best players together and building something special here."

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