The only captain Toronto FC has ever known called it a career on Wednesday. Defender Jim Brennan, who played 84 times for TFC, retired to take position as assistant manager with the club.
It was an unexpected announcement for many, but Brennan said that it had been under consideration for some time.
“I thought I could have played another season,” Brennan said at a press conference in Toronto. “I did preseason. But I just didn’t feel right. My body was a bit tired. I didn’t feel the same like I did every other season. We had quite a few chats and the last one was the other day and this is what happened.”
The 32-year-old, who played 49 times for Canada, was the club’s first-ever signing in 2006. He will now work alongside Director of Soccer Mo Johnston in the front office.
“Certain parts of the academy, international scouting and day-to-day MLS routine stuff,” Johnston said in describing Brennan’s role. “We’ll look at game tapes. We’ll look at acquisitions of players. Jimmy carries a reputation of playing in Europe. He knows a host of [player] agents as well. We’ll take care of some business.”
Although he already has his coaching licenses, Brennan still pursued the administrative role.
“I wanted to come up alongside Mo because I find it more interesting [than coaching],” Brennan said. “The everyday wheeling and dealing and the crunching the numbers and looking for players. I find that interesting.”
Brennan was a fan favorite at BMO Field. His fiery temperment and penchant for playing with injuries endeared him to the fans. One of Brennan’s most memorable individual moments was his selection to the 2008 MLS All-Star Game for match against West Ham in Toronto. The fans chanted his name.
After Brennan went 90 minutes in the 2010 season opener a few weeks ago, the timing of his announcement struck many as peculiar. Even Johnston acknowledged at Wednesday’s press conference that he knew there would be skeptics in the media.
“Is there a good time to retire?” Brennan said. “It’s how the body feels. My body didn’t feel right. I played the game against Columbus. I thought I did alright. After that, I spoke to Mo and I told him that I don’t feel right. My body doesn’t feel the same and it’s time I call it a day.”
A Toronto Sun report cited sources and other reports of a falling out between Brennan and new head coach Preki.
“Listen, I know who wrote that and it’s an absolute disgrace for them writing that,” Brennan said. “Everybody here and everybody in that dressing room knows it’s a lie. There was never a bust-up between me and Preki. I have respect for Preki. I know he’s going to do a great job for this club. I never said anything like that.”
Johnston also called the report a “complete fabrication.” He mentioned that the naming of a new team captain was up to Preki.
Preki was hired in the off-season and has overhauled the roster, engineering the departures of Marvell Wynne, Carl Robinson and Ali Gerba, among others.
With Brennan’s retirement on Wednesday, TFC is expected to make more roster moves. Johnston confirmed that Brennan’s move to the front office would free up $60,000 to $70,000 in cap space, which he said “wasn’t that much.”
“We’ll try to utilize it to the best of our ability,” Johnston said. “We’re looking at two to three new players to add probably before Saturday. If not, it’ll be Monday or Tuesday.”