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Official: Toronto FC appoint Chris Armas as head coach

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The former New York Red Bulls head coach takes over from Greg Vanney.

New York Red Bulls v New York City FC : MLS Photo by Ira L. Black/Corbis via Getty Images

TORONTO, Canada—Toronto FC finally have their next head coach.

Former New York Red Bulls’ manager Chris Armas has been appointed the club’s next head coach, the club announced Wednesday afternoon.

“I could not be more excited to join a club with Toronto FC’s level of excellence and winning tradition and I will work tirelessly to uphold those standards,” said the newly-appointed Toronto FC Head Coach Chris Armas in a press release. “I’m grateful to Mr. Tanenbaum and to Bill Manning and Ali Curtis for their belief in me and for giving me this opportunity. As an opposing coach I felt the passion the fans and supporters bring to BMO Field. It is next level. I can’t wait to put a team on the field that will not only make them proud with the way we play, but also with the way we run, battle and compete every minute of every game.”

Armas becomes the 10th head coach in club history. The 48-year-old Bronx, New York native emerged as an MLS manager in 2018 when he took over from Jesse Marsch as Red Bulls’ head coach when Marsch departed for RB Leipzig during the 2018 season. He would help lead the Red Bulls to the Supporters’ Shield that season and would go on to post a record of 33-27-11 in all competitions while his teams averaged 1.61 points per game, (7th best all-time, minimum 50 MLS games managed).

In September, however, he parted ways with NYRB after a four-game winless stretch despite the Red Bulls’ clinging on to a playoff spot.

“Chris has an excellent winning pedigree and is a fiery, competitive guy who wants his teams to play on the front foot. He is the right fit to build upon the foundation that’s been established at TFC,” added Toronto FC President Bill Manning. “Our fans are going to love his intensity and how that’s going to translate into our team’s style of play for years to come.”

In addition to his MLS coaching experience, Armas also brings a ton of experience as a player in the league. He featured in 264 matches for the L.A. Galaxy and Chicago Fire as a defensive midfielder, and also went on to earn 66 caps with the U.S. national team.

He’s also worked with Ali Curtis in the past as an assistant coach with New York Red Bulls, though never directly reported to the now-TFC GM.

“During my career, I have been fortunate to have had the experience of interacting with football professionals both domestic and abroad. The integrity, authenticity, and professionalism that Chris possesses is unmatched when I think of professionals in the game. Having gone through this process before, I know that Chris will be an excellent coach for the club. While I have known Chris over the years, during the interview process, he conveyed perspective, vision, and coaching qualities, which solidified our belief in him as the top candidate,” said Toronto FC General Manager Ali Curtis in the press release Wednesday afternoon. “I am excited about his intensity, passion, tactics, and way of teaching. The resources and support that we will provide to Chris will be different than his previous roles, which we know will be beneficial to his vision and our success. There has never been a moment in the history of sports like we are in now. We are a team that strives to win championships, and Chris is the ideal coach to lead us now, and in the future.”

Armas, of course, takes over from Greg Vanney who stepped down from his role on Dec. 1 as Head Coach and Technical Director after nearly seven seasons with the club before recently signing with the L.A. Galaxy. The Technical Director role will cease to exist, putting Curtis in the driver’s seat in terms of roster construction.