Toronto FC are doing their preseason training in Turkey.
Courtesy of Toronto FC

Winter sees playoff potential amid TFC rebuild

TORONTO — After taking a large squad to Turkey, Toronto FC head coach Aron Winter says it’s time to start focusing on the core players that will feature for the Reds when they start the 2011 season.

They will travel next week to Orlando with a much smaller group, where they will take part in the Walt Disney World Pro Soccer Classic.

“I want to start training with the best of what we are going to start with,” Winter said after practice wrapped up Thursday.

He also indicated three players that trialed with the club in Turkey—Javier Martina, Elbekay Bouchiba and Nick Soolsma—would be re-joining TFC in Florida. Earlier this week, Winter said it was likely TFC would offer a contract to the three Dutchmen. The coach also indicated there would be some new trialists joining the club from South America, but refused to offer names.

With a little more than a month to the opening game in Vancouver, there is a lot of work yet to be done, Winter says. However, he’s confident that the club can be competitive in 2011, and even make a run at the playoffs.

“A month—that’s not long enough, of course,” he said. “But we have good players. We feel that there is enough time to get ready.”