Toronto FC named former Real Salt Lake president Bill Manning as the club's new president on Monday morning. A two-time Major League Soccer Executive of the Year, Manning will oversee team and business operations and begins his new role on Friday.
Manning served almost eight years as president of Real Salt Lake and Rio Tinto Stadium before parting ways with that organization in August.
“Just as we have worked to add star talent on the pitch to help build Toronto FC into a consistent contender in Major League Soccer, today we are thrilled to add an equally as important and impressive executive in Bill Manning to lead the club,” Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment Board of Directors chairman Larry Tanenbaum said in a club statement. “Our ambition is to bring MLS championships to our fans in Toronto, and adding a leader of Bill’s caliber is another important part of that process and vision.”
Toronto FC can clinch a playoff spot for the first time in their nine-year history with a win or tie on Wednesday night against the New York Red Bulls.
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Prior to his successful stint with Real Salt Lake, Manning's 22-year career included time with the Philadelphia Eagles, Houston Rockets, Tampa Bay Mutiny and Minnesota Thunder.
“In its first nine years, Toronto FC has established itself as one of the most important franchises in Major League Soccer, and I am greatly honored for the opportunity to lead this club,” Manning said in the club statement. “TFC has made important strides this season as the club pushes for its first-ever playoff berth in a premier, newly-renovated stadium in front of some of the very best supporters in the league. I look forward to working with Tim Bezbatchenko, Greg Vanney and the TFC staff at this exciting time, and I am grateful to Mr. Tanenbaum and the MLSE ownership for this opportunity to come to a world-class city and club to help make its championship vision a reality.”
Manning played collegiate soccer at the University of Bridgeport, earning first team all-America honors in 1986. He won a US Open Cup title with the Brooklyn Italians in 1991 and played professionally until 1995. Manning also holds a U.S. Soccer National “A” Coaching License.