TORONTO – Milos Kocic got his chance to play last year and ran with it.
Now instead of being Toronto FC’s backup goalkeeper to his friend and golfing partner Stefan Frei, the two are in competition to see who starts in 2012.
“I think it’s an open competition,” first assistant coach Bob de Klerk said after Friday’s training. “At this moment both are very good, both are very positive. It’s going well.”
An injury to Frei opened up the chance for Kocic to play last August, and the 26-year-old eventually appeared in eight regular season games and all of Toronto’s matches in the group stage of the CONCACAF Champions League.
“It’s one job that we have to fight for,” Kocic said Friday. “I have no problem doing my job and trying to do my best on the field. At the end of the day we can be friends off the field but on the field we are fighting [to start]. We know what’s going on we don’t have to talk about it. We come on the field and we know what’s expected of us and whoever plays better at the end of the day is going to play.”
The two have been friends since the 2009 MLS Combine, after which Frei was drafted by Toronto and Kocic by D.C. United. Kocic joined Toronto for the 2010 season after he was released by D.C., and served as Frei’s backup until a leg injury sidelined TFC’s main man and put Kocic in the spotlight.
They work together with goalkeeper Stewart Kerr, offering each other encouragement. They even work together on Wednesdays during preseason when the other players are given the day off.
“He was always very positive, not only on the pitch but in the locker room,” de Klerk said of Kocic. “Just because you are positive in the locker room, though, doesn’t mean you are a very good goalkeeper. But we saw during the training sessions that he is a very good goalkeeper. He’s got everything.”