Greg Vanney, who led Toronto FC to respectability and then helped fill its trophy case, is stepping down as the Major League Soccer club’s head coach and technical director.
The club made the announcement Tuesday, in the aftermath of last week’s playoff loss to Nashville SC.
Vanney’s departure was not expected although delays in sorting out a new contract had raised questions. His current deal expires at the end of the 2020 season.
Toronto says the search for Vanney’s replacement will begin immediately.
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There was no immediate word on Vanney’s future. There are openings elsewhere, including the Los Angeles Galaxy.
A finalist for coach of the year, Vanney led TFC to the second-best regular-season record at 13-5-5 in a difficult 2020 campaign. Forced to play all but four games away from BMO Field because of travel restrictions caused by the pandemic, injury-plagued Toronto limped into the playoffs losing three of its last four regular-season games.
The post-season ended quickly in a 1-0 extra-time loss to expansion Nashville.
The 46-year-old Vanney was the longest tenured coach in TFC history, holding every coaching record, including games coached (250) and wins (112).
Named head coach in August 2014 after Ryan Nelsen was fired, Vanney inherited a 9-9-6 team that had never made the playoffs.
3 Canadian titles in 4 years
He took the team into the post-season in 2015 and went on to guide TFC to the MLS Cup final in 2016, 2017 and 2019, winning the title in 2017 on home soil.
Vanney also coached Toronto to the Supporters’ Shield and Canadian Championship in 2017, becoming the first MLS club to win a domestic treble. He was named MLS and CONCACAF coach of the year that season.
He turned [Toronto FC] into an MLS champion. More than that, he is of high character and a great family man.— Team president Bill Manning on Vanney
Toronto qualified for the playoffs under Vanney five of the past six seasons and captured three Canadian championships since 2016.
“I want to thank Mr. [Larry] Tanenbaum [the chairman of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment], the board of directors and MLSE for their unwavering support for the past seven years. I recognize that I have been extremely fortunate to work for one of the best ownership groups in all of sports. I also want to thank Bill [Manning, Toronto FC president] and Ali [Curtis, TFC general manager] for their support and leadership and most importantly the relationships we’ve developed over the years,” Vanney said in a statement.
“Thank you to all of the TFC staff and players for the incredible experiences we’ve shared together during this journey. I’m forever grateful to each of you. Lastly, to the TFC fans. You’re truly amazing and the memories and emotions from our biggest nights together will be cherished.”
Manning praised Vanney in a statement.
“I wish Greg nothing but the best in the future,” Manning said. “Back in 2014 he took over the head coach duties for a team that had never made the playoffs and turned them into an MLS champion. More than that, he is of high character and a great family man. I thank him for time well served for our club, his legacy here in Toronto is secure.”
A father of four, Vanney had all three of his sons in TFC colours. His twins were part of the academy while his youngest boy was in the TFC Juniors program.