Winter faces tough challenge at Toronto

TORONTO - Former Netherlands midfielder Aron Winter was unveiled as manager and technical director of Toronto FC on Thursday and said he faced a big test in his first head coaching job but wanted to play attractive football.

"It is a big challenge," Winter a news conference. "It is a young club. The feeling given to me was that we can build something together and (play) an attractive style of soccer."

The Major League Soccer club also announced that ex-England striker Paul Mariner will become director of player development while another Dutchman Bob de Klerk will be Winter's assistant.

Winter brings a wealth of international experience to his first head coaching job. He won 84 caps for the Netherlands and featured in three World Cups and four European championships.

He started and ended his playing career in Amsterdam with Ajax and in between had stints in Italy with Lazio and Inter Milan, scoring 73 goals in 400 career club appearances.

Since retiring in 2003, Winter has been an assistant coach at Ajax, working with the club's renowned youth academy.


"Everybody is speaking of total football. Everybody knows we are used to playing with three strikers, attractive soccer," he told reporters. "Everyone is comparing (Toronto) to Ajax but we have our own identity, we want to play our own style."

Ajax pioneered the fluid brand of football known as total football under coach Rinus Michels in the early 1970s and it was also adopted by the Netherlands at the World Cup under him.

While Toronto FC have been held up as MLS's model franchise, routinely selling out every match, the team have not enjoyed similar success on the pitch.

In the four years since they joined the league, Toronto have never posted a winning record or qualified for the playoffs.

With the fans getting angry, Toronto brought in Juergen Klinsmann as a consultant and put the former Germany manager and striker in charge of overhauling the club's management team.

"We continue our work," said Klinsmann, who attended the news conference. "We are in the background and there to help.

"But today was an important milestone because now it is up to the new leadership to start working.

"Aron has an amazing career behind him. He went to the Ajax school, he already has an amazing knowledge. Now all he has learned he will implement as a head coach.

"It's a special task but he is up for it."