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Toronto FC unveils new entry in USL PRO league
The new team will play its home games in a new stadium at the Ontario Soccer Centre in Vaughan.
Jan. 21, 2015
By Josh Rubin

In a week where Toronto FC has been shopping for high-level talent in the international transfer market, the team has also been keeping an eye on things a little further down soccer’s food chain.

On Wednesday, the Reds unveiled Toronto FC II, their new entry in the USL PRO league, a tier below Major League Soccer. The new team will play its home games in a new stadium at the Ontario Soccer Centre in Vaughan and will train with the main TFC club at the Kia Training Centre at Downsview Park.

“This will help fill the gap between our academy level and our first team,” said TFC general manager Tim Bezbatchenko in a press conference at Vaughan’s City Hall. “We’re here to play the long game.”

Bezbatchenko was flanked by TFC head coach Greg Vanney, TFC II head coach Jason Bent, Vaughan mayor Maurizio Bevilacqua and Ontario Soccer Association president Ron Smale.

The new stadium is on a site at Martingrove Road and Highway 7, where the OSA currently has its headquarters. With the OSA’s lease on the property coming due, Smale said the opportunity to have a professional team based at the site was too good to pass up. The OSA renewed its lease, and will be paying to build the stadium, which will eventually have seating capacity for 3,500 fans.

“Timing is everything,” said Smale “It’s just a perfect fit.”

TFC II’s home opener will be on Canada Day; like their parent club, whose home BMO Field is undergoing renovation, they’ll be spending the first few weeks of the season on the road.

In addition to hosting TFC II, the stadium will also see high-level OSA youth competitions, and will be available to the City of Vaughan for other events, Smale noted.

Tickets for the team’s 12 home games will be $8 apiece. A smiling Bevilacqua handed Bezbatchenko an envelope during the press conference.

“This is a personal cheque. I want to buy four season’s tickets,” said Bevilacqua. (Tickets can be purchased online at or by calling 416-360-2625).

TFC II is one of 13 expansion teams entering the 24-team USL PRO league this season. Eight MLS teams, including TFC, own a team in the league, up from just one last season. That one? It just happened to be owned by the MLS champions, noted Vanney.

“Last season, the only one was the L.A. Galaxy. It’s probably no coincidence,” said Vanney. Last season, TFC had an affiliation agreement with the North Carolina-based Wilmington Hammerheads of USL PRO.

Not having to get on a plane to keep an eye on the club’s developing young players is one big advantage of the new set-up, said Vanney. Keeping them within the TFC system, with coaches who know the organization’s philosophy is even more significant, he added.