Toronto FC unveiled plans for its new Academy and Training Facility at Downsview Park on Monday. The 14 acre state-of-the-art complex will serve as the primary practice, training and development facility for Toronto FC and its Junior and Senior Academy teams.
"Our vision for the Toronto FC Academy is to create a world-class venue and program unlike anything this country has seen before," said Tom Anselmi, executive vice-president & chief operating officer, Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (MLSE). "We envision our Academy and Training Facility as not only serving the needs of our soccer team, but also making a measureable difference in supporting soccer development in Canada."
The Toronto FC Academy and Training Facility will include three grass fields (one heated), one FieldTurf field with a bubble and a 40,000 square foot fieldhouse that will house locker rooms, training facilities and team offices.
"The benefits to Downsview Park and Toronto FC are numerous and mutually beneficial," said Chair David Soknacki, Downsview Park. "It’s what this endeavour means to the community and represents for the future of the sport of soccer in Canada where we will all reap the rewards."
"Our goal for the Downsview Park Sports Centre is to become a nationally recognized centre for sporting excellence and participation," stated Bill Bryck, president and CEO, Downsview Park. "MLSE’s decision to locate the Toronto FC Training Facility and Academy to Downsview Park not only furthers that goal but also moves us to international recognition."
Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment and Toronto FC will invest more than $17.5 million to build the Academy and Training Facility and will pay an annual rent to Downsview for occupying the 14 acres of land.
"We’re excited about our partnership with Downsview Park and establishing it as a location for our Soccer Academy and Training Facility," said Bob Hunter, executive vice-president of venues and entertainment for Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment. "Our investment in this facility aligns with our organization’s philosophy of building quality venues that support sport development and enhancing city spaces."
Downsview Park was selected as the site of Toronto FC’s Training Ground and Academy after a year-long search that included an open call RFP (Request for Proposal) process.
In the last 10 years, Downsview Park has established itself as a leading centre of athletic excellence and a premier sports destination in the Greater Toronto Area.
Accessible by public transportation and close to the major arteries, Downsview Park’s existing sports venues and amenities will complement Toronto FC’s new Academy and Training Facility. It already houses one of the biggest soccer facilities in the country with eight existing indoor and outdoor fields.
On hand for the announcement were Toronto FC’s Head Coach and Technical Director Aron Winter, First Assistant Bob de Klerk and Director of Player Development Paul Mariner. All three gentlemen bring strong skills and experience in building and developing soccer academies in Holland and the United States.
Launched in 2008, the Toronto FC Academy’s goal is to provide the most talented, committed and dedicated soccer players in the country an opportunity to receive advanced coaching instruction within the Academy structure and program. Currently, there are close to 50 players enrolled in the TFC Academy. Current first team Toronto FC players who have graduated from the Academy include: Doneil Henry, Ashtone Morgan, Keith Makubuya, Matt Stinson, Oscar Cordon and Nicholas Lindsay.
Construction on the TFC Academy and Training Facility begins in May 2011 with anticipated completion of the fields in April 2012 and the Field House in May 2012.