April 15, 2011 MLS--Winter & Mariner Discuss Future Plans (from TorontoFC.ca)
Winter & Mariner Discuss Future Plans Asif Hossain TorontoFC.ca April 15, 2011 Toronto FC head coach and technical director Aron Winter was a guest on The Soccer Show Thursday evening where he was joined by the club's director of player development Paul Mariner. The TFC pair chatted about football for the full hour with Sportsnet Radio FAN 590 personalities Nigel Reed and Bob Iarusci. Winter, along with his first assistant coach Bob De Klerk and Mariner were brought together in January of 2011 to reshape the club with a new philosphy and culture at BMO Field. Winter reflected on the union and conveyed that honesty was most important to their partnership. "It's very simple," said Winter, "we came the three of us in January and we sat down with each other. We are honest ... we discuss everything the three of us, what we want, what we think." "It was tough for me at first. Very new to the league, there are so many rules. It takes a bit of time and (it's) a different mentality." Mariner admitted that things such as the SuperDraft and salary cap are challenges for those who prefer the European style and he had a task, as the official with the greatest MLS experience, to prepare his new associates. "The (SuperDraft) is a difficult concept to get a grasp on. But the great thing about Aron and Bob is that they have a fantastic eye for talent." On the subject of the SuperDraft - the traditional MLS style of youth player distribution - Mariner indicated he wasn't very enthused this year. "I think the talent pool has thinned. I don't think the combine was that strong this year ... with more teams drafting, the talent pool isn't quite there." A solution to this for Toronto, both men agreed, is much closer to home. "There's a lot of talent in (Ontario) and we are reaching out to affiliated clubs," Mariner told the hosts and credited Winter. "Aron's giving kids an opportunity to step in. The head coach is saying 'we believe in you.' When Oscar (Cordon) came on he looked like he fit in." 18-year old Toronto-born Cordon made his professional debut on Wednesday night against Los Angeles Galaxy in a high profile match with international attention. Toronto's next match is on Saturday night at 7 p.m. against D.C. United - their third game in seven nights. Winter praised Cordon noting his performance is "a good sign for the future." The coach also revealed that the club is looking at recruiting would-be stars at under-15 and under-13 levels in the near term, but for him "the ideal age is under-11" to capture budding football talent. Mariner stressed the importance of growing more than just great soccer players by turning kids entrusted to the club into men that their parents and guardians can be proud of. "Yes we want to create a footballer but we are also going to create a whole person." Education will be a key component of the Toronto FC Academy experience, a realistic Mariner exclaimed, because not everyone will be able to become top flight internationals like himself and Winter. "We have a vision for the club. The Academy is very very important to us."
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