Toronto FC announced the name, logo (above), home venue and ticketing information for their USL PRO team on Wednesday ahead of the new project's 2015 debut in North American soccer's third tier.
Dubbed Toronto FC II, the team will play home matches at the Ontario Soccer Centre in the northwest suburb of Vaughan, while holding practice sessions at TFC's Kia Training Grounds. The club plan to use the USL PRO squad to groom their young professionals as well as top youth academy prospects. Former Canadian international Jason Bent was named the team's head coach in November.
“I believe that MLS clubs with their own USL PRO teams in-market will be able to close the gap between academy and our first team on a number of levels,” Toronto FC general manager Tim Bezbatchenko said in a club statement. “This investment signifies our commitment to winning and preparing our young players, both Canadian and our draft picks, to become professionals."
A training and education facility shared with the Canadian Soccer Association, the Ontario Soccer Association and the Canadian Soccer Hall of Fame, the OSC features a large fieldhouse and several grass and artificial-turf fields, including a stadium field capable of holding about 1,000 spectators. Season tickets for TFC II's 12 home matches are now on sale, and the Reds' new initiative is being warmly welcomed by its host community.
“I have been working to bring a professional sports organization to Vaughan since becoming mayor, and today my dream has become reality,” Vaughan mayor Maurizio Bevilacqua said. “This is fantastic news for our city and bodes well for our mission to become world-class. As someone who has loved and played soccer my entire life, I am pleased to say that I have purchased the first four season tickets and am looking forward to cheering on Vaughan’s new team this summer."