TORONTO – Toronto FC’s coaching staff grew by one Thursday after the club reunited head coach Greg Vanney with his long-time friend Robin Fraser.
And while the appointment of the former New York Red Bulls assistant coach comes after Red Bull parted ways with head coach Mike Petke, TFC said the initial contact with Fraser in a formal inquiry came near the end of the 2014 season.
Vanney hinted then that further additions to his coaching staff would be made. With the addition of Fraser, Toronto FC’s coaching staff is now in place ahead of the 2015 season.
Fraser said he had a number of options, including staying with New York, but felt that joining Toronto was the best opportunity for him.
“This is a club that has tremendous resources and a lot of the infrastructures in place to be very good,” Fraser told reporters at the team’s training grounds on Thursday. “I’ve known Greg for a very long time, and he’s said nothing but great things about the club since he’s been here. We really feel this is a platform from which we can make something special.”
Vanney and Fraser have played and worked together for a number of years.
The two were teammates at the LA Galaxy during the late 1990s and coached together at Chivas USA in 2011 and ’12. At Chivas, Fraser was the head coach and Vanney his assistant; in Toronto, the roles have been reversed.
“He’s the boss; Greg’s the boss,” Fraser said with a smile. “Our relationship goes back many, many years. We’ve played together, been in coaching situations together, and obviously the last time we were together I was the head coach and he was the assistant coach. But at the end of the day, we see things very similarly and yet differently enough that the conflict is good.”
Fraser brings with him a wealth of MLS experience, having also been an assistant coach at Real Salt Lake and, most recently, the Red Bulls for the past two years.
“I personally have been in coaching situations with teams that have not traditionally been successful and have been part of putting together programs and tactics to getting groups from not being good to being really great,” Fraser said. “In the past, with Real Salt Lake, when I came in as an assistant coach, it was great to be part of a group that transformed a not-so-great team into what is obviously a very good team. With New York, it was a great experience to be able to go into a different environment.”
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Fraser said his work is made easier coming into the team after Vanney, who took the reigns at TFC after the mid-season firing of Ryan Nelsen this past season, has already established the groundwork at the club.
“Greg has done a tremendous job in getting things ready, and I really feel like this is going to be another one of those situations where you get together, you do things right and if you do things right, you get the results you want,” Fraser said.