On the day that MLSE finally decided to part ways with the head coach of their hockey franchise word of a second coaching change came out. While the firing of Randy Carlyle is going to take up all of the headlines around the city soccer fans have a different coaching story to keep an eye on.
According to Kristian Dyer of Big Apple Soccer, Toronto are set to announce the hiring of New York Red Bulls' assistant coach Robin Fraser. The move would reunite Fraser with Greg Vanney as the duo previously worked together at Chivas USA. The main difference is that this time around the pair of coaches would be in opposite roles as Vanney served as an assistant coach under Fraser during their time with the Goats.
Fraser has a strong coaching resume and certainly brings the kind of MLS experience that Toronto FC fans are often calling for. Along with being the head coach of Chivas USA for two years he was an assistant coach with Real Salt Lake from 2007 until 2010 and worked with the Red Bulls for the past two seasons.
While working with both Real Salt Lake and New York, Fraser has been a steadying influence for young coaching staffs. He worked with both Jason Kreis and Mike Petke in their first coaching roles and was instrumental in both teams winning trophies early on in their coach's career.
If Fraser can bring the same kind of influence and success to Toronto FC this could be the single best coaching move that the franchise has made. He already has a working relationship with Vanney, brings a proven track record as an assistant coach, and has shown that he can help a new head coach succeed. There are plenty of possitives to be excited about.
The concern in an hiring like this is that it could set up another potential power struggle. Far too many times in the past we have seen TFC bring in someone with dreams of being a head coach to fill a different role. Vanney was just the latest example of that as he was hired to run the academy and help out the GM but wound up proving to be the succession plan for the head coaching position. It has happened too often at Toronto FC and it has never once lead to good things for the club.
If adding Fraser to the coaching staff leads to another cycle of power struggling this will just go down as another bad hiring in a long line of them by MLSE. The man reason to believe that such a power struggle will not happen is the existing relationship between Fraser and Vanney but that alone is not enough to completely put the fears to rest.
The Big Apple Soccer report suggests that the deal between Fraser and TFC will be for three years as the team are looking to lock the coach up. Considering that Fraser has drawn interest for a number of vacant head coaching jobs the past two off seasons and has been linked to various positions with Jamaica it is smart of the club to sign him to a longer deal to try and hold on to him.
With training camp only weeks away from opening it seems that Greg Vanney's coaching staff is finally starting to take shape with what on the surface seems to be a very good hiring.