TORONTO — Aron Winter and striker Danny Koevermans have been on the same team before.
The only difference now is that Winter, a former Dutch international midfielder, is head coach and technical director of Toronto FC and Koevermans is his employee. Back in 2001-02, they were teammates at Dutch side Sparta Rotterdam.
“He was in the last year of his career, [and] it was the start of my career," Koevermans recalled Tuesday. "He was a great player. ... It's a small world. I never expected it, of course, but he was here and he called me.”
Koevermans scored seven goals in 23 games with Sparta that season. It was Koevermans’ first full campaign in the Eredivisie, but the club did not fare well.
“We were relegated with Sparta,” Koevermans said. “It’s not good to be relegated. I’ve been a champion one time with PSV. I’ve seen it all.”
He'll face a similar situation at his new club, as Toronto desperately are in need of points in the Major League Soccer standings.
“We can only look up,” he said. “First we have to win to get some points because now we are really far away from the playoffs.”
On Wednesday, Koevermans and fellow Designated Player Torsten Frings will have a chance to make their TFC debuts against FC Dallas at BMO Field (8 pm ET, TSN in Canada, watch LIVE online). However, their participation will be determined by game fitness. Frings seemed to be the more advanced of the two, having started training with TFC earlier than his fellow DP signee.
The team has undergone a midseason makeover that includes the additions in the past few days of center back Andy Iro, forward Ryan Johnson and midfielders Leandre Griffit and Terry Dunfield. As part of a wholesale Toronto effort, Koevermans knows why he was signed.
“I’m here to score goals,” he said. “You know that as a striker, you have to do that. If you don’t do that, you fail. It’s as simple as that.”
Koevermans scored 11 goals in 22 games for PSV Eindhoven during the 2009-10 season, but found the back of the net only once in 14 games last season for the perennial Dutch powerhouse. However, despite his uncharacteristic lack of production in the last campaign, he is optimistic that he can be very successful in Toronto if given the time to acclimate accordingly to his new squad.
“I always want to score goals,” Koevermans added. “I just want to get used to the people, to the pitch, to everything here [first].”