TORONTO – New Toronto FC assistant coach Jason Bent says that his promotion can be viewed as something more than just a new opportunity for himself. The former head of the senior academy suggests that it speaks to the club’s commitment to development, whether it’s players or coaches.
“It’s not just the philosophy of the club, but also the [owners], MLSE,” Bent told MLSsoccer.com by phone on Wednesday. “They try and reward good work and promote from within.”
Bent is with TFC in Florida where the club is taking part in the Disney Pro Soccer Classic. There, he’s been mostly working with the younger players currently training with the first team.
“I think that will be my role initially,” he said. “Acting as a bridge to the younger guys – a familiar voice they to make them feel comfortable as they try and impress Aron Winter and Bob de Klerk and earn a spot with the first team.”
Bent says those young players will get a real shot at making that impression. The Reds are looking to get younger.
“They really believe in the youth,” Bent said of Winter and de Klerk. “They bring with them instant credibility having come from one of the most respected youth development systems in the world.”
The opportunity to move up to the senior team came at a perfect time for Bent, he says. Although he would have been happy working with the academy team for another year, he says that he’s glad to have the chance to continue his development as a coach in the new role.
“Now that I’ve had a taste of this, I’m excited by what I’ll be doing,” he said.
Bent suggested that he will stay in his new role for a few years and that he is not looking to quickly parlay the job to a head coaching position.
“You need to be careful not to put yourself into a head coaching position before you are ready,” Bent said. “I’m a young coach – I should be watching and learning from the experience guys like Winter and de Klerk bring.”
Toronto FC announced on Wednesday that former Red Danny Dichio will assume Bent's old job as head of the senior academy, while former TFC captain and assistant GM Jim Brennan will take over the junior academy team.