The John Herdman era at Toronto FC started under bright sunshine Monday as the former Canada coach, wearing a smile, walked out to review his new troops in training.
New goalkeeping coach Simon Eaddy was at the far end of the pitch, working with the ‘keepers. Eric Tenllado and Robyn Gayle, like Eaddy holdovers from Herdman’s Canada staff, watched from the sideline as interim coach Terry Dunfield and his assistants put the 4-17-10 team through its paces.
After training, Herdman had a long talk with captain Michael Bradley.
Herdman and his new staff – Alex Dodgshon is another addition from Canada Soccer – plan to spend the week as observers, letting Dunfield prepare the team for away games at Charlotte FC on Wednesday and the New York Red Bulls on Saturday.
The new regime, which will travel with the team to take in both road games, will then take charge next week during the international break that precedes the club’s Oct. 21 season finale against visiting Orlando City.
Neither Herdman nor Dunfield spoke to the media Monday. Herdman did exchange greetings with the lone reporter on site, marvelling at the weather, a toasty 22 degrees Celsius, for the mid-morning practice.
Herdman flew in Sunday evening from the West Coast.
Italian star Lorenzo Insigne worked on his own with a trainer separate from the main squad Monday. The former Napoli captain has missed the last two games with a lower body injury.
Insigne left Saturday’s 3-2 loss to FC Cincinnati at BMO Field after a verbal altercation with some fans in the seats below. Insigne was watching the game with his wife and two sons from a private box when something was said.
The Italian clearly didn’t like it, with video posted on social media showing him making an obscene gesture and dropping an F-bomb before being pulled away and leaving the box. The fans were ejected.
On Day 1, Herdman was already surrounded by familiar faces Tenllado will serve as assistant coach and “performance lead,” while Eaddy becomes the club’s goalkeeper coach and “tech co-ordinator.” Gayle’s role is performance and wellness coach and Dodgshon takes over as scouting and analytics coach.
“This group of people have experienced winning many times at BMO Field in the biggest moments for Canada in front of many of these fans and are highly motivated to experience that feeling with Toronto FC,” Herdman said in a statement. “We feel privileged to be able to work for the people of this city and will, as always, give our all to bring the success our fans deserve.”
Dunfield will stay on as an assistant coach. The former Canadian international and TFC player was part of Herdman’s staff with the Canadian men’s team and served as a technical assistant and performance analyst at last year’s FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
Herdman’s ties with Eaddy date back to his days with New Zealand before taking over the Canadian women’s team in 2011.
A native of New Plymouth, New Zealand, Eaddy served as goalkeeper coach for the New Zealand under-20 and senior women’s team before joining Herdman with the Canadian women and then men.
Between the two countries, Eaddy has coached at two FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cups (Russia 2006, Chile 2008), three Summer Olympic Games (Beijing 2008, London 2012, Rio 2016), four FIFA Women’s World Cups (China 2007, Germany 2011, Canada 2015, France 2019), two CONCACAF Nations Leagues (2019-2020, 2022-2023) and one FIFA World Cup (Qatar 2022).
As a player, Eaddy had goalkeeping stints with Australia’s Football Kingz FC, New Zealand’s Waitakere United and Auckland City FC of the New Zealand Football Championship and Ottawa Wizards of the Canadian Professional Soccer League.
Tenllado spent more than five years with Canada Soccer and was Herdman’s assistant coach with the Canadian men. The Spaniard began his career in his native Barcelona as an academy coach at RCD Espanyol de Barcelona from 2009 to 2016.
He moved to Toronto in 2016, serving as director of coaching and coach development manager for Toronto High Park Academy Gayle, a former Canadian international, has spent the last eight years working with both the Canadian men’s and women’s programs, most recently as the mental and cultural manager at Canada Soccer. She worked with Herdman at the 2016 Summer Olympics, 2019 Women’s World Cup Games and 2022 Men’s World Cup.
The Toronto native was part of the Canada squad that won Olympic bronze in 2012 and gold at the 2011 Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico.
Dodgshon spent more than two years with Canada Soccer, working as lead opposition analyst for the Canadian men under Herdman. A native of Liverpool, England, he began his coaching career as a head coach of the U-15 and U-17 boys at Fredericton District Soccer Association from 2018 to 2020.