In a press conference at the BMO Training Ground this morning, Toronto FC president Bill Manning announced that the club has hired Ali Curtis as the fifth general manager in franchise history. Curtis replaces Tim Bezbatchenko, who left TFC abruptly this week to take over the president’s job at Columbus Crew SC.
Curtis, 40, was previously the sporting director of the New York Red Bulls, from 2014 to early 2017. There, he helped the club to the 2015 Supporters’ Shield. While with RBNY, Curtis developed a reputation for improving the Red Bulls’ youth system and making them a consistently competitive side while maintaining a relatively modest payroll.
TFC’s new GM played in MLS for three years as a forward for the Tampa Bay Mutiny, D.C. United, and FC Dallas. He was a prolific talent in college for Duke, winning the Hermann Trophy and MAC Award as the top player in the NCAA. After his playing days, he worked briefly at both the investment bank JP Morgan and the MLS head office.
While the change is abrupt, there's hardly a better candidate TFC could've found to replace Bezbatchenko. Indeed, many MLS pundits have expressed surprise that Curtis hadn't yet been hired by a club.
This will be one hell of a first season for Curtis, with enormous pressure on TFC after a disappointing 2018. How confident are you feeling?