TORONTO – Jim Brennan, Toronto FC’s first-ever signing, is back on the field with the first team.
This time, however, it will be as first assistant to head coach and technical Aron Winter. The move was revealed on Monday as part of a personnel shuffle that saw lead assistant coach Bob de Klerk move upstairs to technical manager.
Winter will take a more active role in coaching on the pitch, while de Klerk moves to a similar role that he had at Ajax. Director of player development Paul Mariner, a former assistant coach with the New England Revolution, will also spend more time on the training pitch working with the strikers.
WATCH: Brennan on move to assistant
“Being on the coaching staff of the first team means an awful lot to me, I’m excited for the challenge,” Brennan told reporters after training at BMO Field on Monday as the team prepared for Wednesday’s Amway Canadian Championship final first leg match in Vancouver (10 pm ET, Sportsnet). “I’m looking forward to it. I think everybody kind of knows how much this club means to me.”
Toronto native Brennan, 35, who earned 49 caps for the Canadian national team, captained TFC after a career in England and retired as a player in 2010.
A defender with the Reds, Brennan has been coaching TFC’s Under-17 team for the past 15 months after a stint as assistant general manager.
De Klerk will be responsible for Toronto FC’s technical program, including advance and international scouting. He also will serve as the technical bridge between the first team and academy program. His responsibilities will include assisting players in making the transition from the Academy into the first team.
WATCH: Winter on personnel shuffle
Winter said the changes weren’t made in reaction to Toronto’s 0-8-0 league record.
“No, the changes have been made because I’m thinking I want to use everybody’s strengths,” Winter told reporters. “Bob is a very good assistant coach, but he has also done the job that he is going to do now with Ajax.”
Winter said de Klerk will still do some coaching with the first team when the need arises. The two arrived together from Ajax in January of 2011 and Winter said they still have a good relationship.
“Our relationship is perfect, no problems,” Winter said. “Bob is still going to be, when it’s needed, involved with training, around us in the locker room. The only difference is that he’s not going to travel and will not be sitting on the bench.”
WATCH: Bob de Klerk reacts
While sitting alongside Winter in last Wednesday’s 2-0 Amway Canadian Championship semifinal win over the Montreal Impact, de Klerk had to be separated from Impact manager Jesse Marsch.
But both Winter and de Klerk, who was also ejected from a CONCACAF Champions League match this year, indicated that the incident was not a factor in the change.
“We thought about what is the best for Toronto FC, is it on the pitch or is in the whole organization?” de Klerk commented. “We thought it was necessary it to bring more of my experience and knowledge from what I had at Ajax to Toronto FC. ... There’s a lot of work to do.”