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Toronto FC announce Chris Armas' coaching staff in 2021 MLS season buildup

Toronto FC have announced four members of head coach Chris Armas’ staff ahead of the 2021 MLS season, his first at the helm.

Aside from retaining goalkeeper coach Jon Conway, Armas will be joined by Javier Perez, Ian Russell and Ewan Sharp in Toronto. Conway is entering his eighth season with the club.

“I am excited to have Javier, Ian and Ewan join Toronto FC to complete my staff,” Armas said in a release. “I am equally pleased that Jon Conway will continue in his role with us moving forward. This group brings a diverse amount of experience and success both within MLS and outside of the league. They all have great passion and knowledge for the game, and I am looking forward to working with them.”

Perez recently spent four seasons (2016-20) as an assistant coach with New York City FC. He’s previously worked with the United States U-18 and U-20 men’s national teams and was part of the senior squad’s staff at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil and the U-20’s staff at the 2015 U-20 FIFA World Cup in New Zealand. The Spaniard has also spent six years as a head coach for youth teams in Real Madrid’s academy. 

Russell was head coach of Reno 1868 FC during the past four seasons, earning 2020 USL Championship Coach of the Year honors as his team won the 2020 USL Supporters Shield. Before that, Russell was a San Jose Earthquakes assistant coach for eight seasons (2008-16). A defender during his own MLS playing career, Russell featured in 134 games for San Jose and the LA Galaxy from 2000-07, winning two MLS Cups (2001, 2003) and one Supporters’ Shield (2005) along the way.

Sharp was a performance analyst with the New York Red Bulls for the past four seasons. He worked closely with the coaching staff on opposition scouting, match planning and in-match and post-match analysis. He also helped the scouting department with identification and recruitment. Sharp was previously a first-team video assistant with Chicago Fire FC during the 2016 season, plus has various collegiate stints.

Armas, who was hired in January, arrives in Toronto as Greg Vanney’s replacement. He previously led RBNY from 2018-20, and now steers a TFC squad that finished second in the Eastern Conference a season ago.