L-R: Paul Mariner, Aron Winter and Bob De Klerk

Toronto FC usher in new era with Winter, Mariner

TORONTO — The next chapter in Toronto FC’s short but eventful history started Thursday, with the naming of the club's new management team.

Former Dutch international Aron Winter joins the Reds as the technical director and head coach, and longtime New England Revolution assistant Paul Mariner will serve as the director of player personnel. Former Ajax youth coach Bob De Klerk joins the team as the first assistant.

Interim general manager Earl Cochrane, assistant GM Jim Brennan and interim coach Nick Dasovic will all remain with the club in new roles.

Winter said that he was attracted to the Toronto job because of the challenge.

“I’m happy to be here. It’s a progressive city that knows its soccer,” he said. “I don’t have much time to get to know all the players, but next week should be enough time to start.”

The hirings mark the first high-profile personnel moves for the team since hiring former German national team coach Jürgen Klinsmann as a consultant in early November.

Winter will immediately begin his role by traveling to the 2011 adidas MLS Combine and SuperDraft. The Combine begins Saturday and the SuperDraft follows next Thursday in Baltimore.

[inline_node:325984]Winter pointed to the inclusion of Mariner on his staff as being key. The 57-year-old former England international spent the last 15 months coaching with Plymouth Argyle in England and previously spent six seasons as an assistant with the New England Revolution. The team appeared in three MLS Cups with Mariner on the staff and reached the postseason every season he was with the club.

“I will use Paul a lot in the early days as I get used to how things work here," Winter said.

Winter joins the Toronto staff during a paticularly sensitive time for TFC fans, who watched the club miss the postseason for the fourth consecutive season last year. Winter becomes the sixth coach in just four years in Toronto, including interim coaches.

Preki was hired as the head coach before the 2009 season but was let go before the season ended, and director of soccer operations Mo Johnston was also let go in the front office overhaul.

“I know Toronto fans have been told to ‘watch this spot’ for several years," Mariner said. "Can we turn it around right away? The intelligent football answer is ‘no, we can’t.’ There are no guarantees. All I can say is that I am extremely confident that this is the right mix. I wouldn’t be here otherwise.”

Winter said that he is looking to bring a style to Toronto that resembles the Total Football that Holland and Ajax are known for, but he also advised patience as the team looks to make some changes in 2011 and beyond.

“People are aware of the Dutch playing Total Football. We want to play a style for Toronto, but it will take time – maybe three years," Winter said. "We have goals in the meantime for next year.

“The playoffs are our goal.”