TORONTO – With Toronto FC’s season winding down with only two games remaining, winger Bobby Convey sees a positive offseason as something that will be vital for both him and the club as a whole.
Acquired by Toronto back in May via a trade with Sporting Kansas City, the 30-year-old veteran has been one of Toronto’s more effective players over the last couple of months. By his own estimation, however, Convey does not believe that he is quite yet back to his top form in a season that began with an injury and a lack of playing time at his previous club.
“I wouldn’t say that I’m back at my best, just because it is tough to sit at the beginning of the season and have an injury,” Convey told MLSsoccer.com. “It is easier to have a really good preseason and to start fresh and strong. I feel good now but I think there is more to come.”
The former United States international also sees striking parallels between his own progress and the club's, with the team having made strides in various areas over the course of the season, but also in a situation where it could benefit from a more settled and orderly offseason and preseason.
“We have some good young players here and this was a good season for them to get games under their belts,” Convey said. “Hopefully we can add more experience for next year to make this team a lot better. I think this offseason is extremely important because there will be cap space to add players who really understand MLS and who are willing to play for certain salaries and who will want to be part of TFC.
“Portland was bad last year and now they are one of the best teams in the league,” Convey added. “The coach brought in the right players that fit his system and that fit the salary cap. [Caleb Porter] had an offseason to do it whereas Ryan [Nelsen, TFC head coach] came here a month before this season started.”
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Since Nelsen came in as manager, the club has undergone significant changes in the front office, too.
Former Anschutz Entertainment Group executive Tim Leiweke was appointed as president and CEO of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, which controls TFC among other Toronto sports franchises, and team president and general manager Kevin Payne departed in September after less than a year in the post, being replaced as GM by salary cap guru Tim Bezbatchenko.
And even though Toronto has often struggled on the pitch during their seven years in the MLS, Convey sees his current club in a situation where the sky is the limit.
“We have an amazing opportunity here,” Convey explained. “This place is amazing. The fans are great and the facilities are great. The owners put money into the team. For me, it has been a little bit shocking that the team hasn’t been as successful as it should be. But now it is a great opportunity to really leave a mark on this place and to show that we can do well.
“If we can get it right over the offseason then the fans will come back and Toronto can be just like it was at the beginning [of their existence],” Convey concluded. “This can be a really amazing place to play.”