Three days after pronouncing his team's loss to the USL's Charleston Battery as "the worst performance I've ever seen," Toronto FC coach John Carver reassured fans that he wouldn't be heading for the exit anytime soon. "I'm not here for the short term. I'm here to build something," Carver tells the Toronto Sun.
The former Newcastle United assistant revealed his plans to do what the Canadian Soccer Association has been unable to do -- namely, develop the sport form the grassroots up by building a youth soccer academy in the English model: teams with premier, reserve, youth and feeder clubs starting at age nine. "We want to develop a two-way relationship with the community like the teams have in Britain. It's something I'm big on," Carver said. "We'd like to work with the local clubs so that kids get training, and we get more developed players. That way they can move up from our youth teams, to the reserves and the [MLS] club."
Carver adds that the standard of play in MLS, which is improving steadily, is already comparable to the upper English League Championship or lower Premier League. "It's a decent standard. I think people in Europe under-estimate it. The difference in Europe is that there's more depth and the players develop much quicker because they're practicing there every day from the time they're nine years old," Carver said. "Here, I see lads out of U.S. colleges and they're still developing. In England, by the time those same players are 23 or 24 years old, you already know if they're going to be elite players."