Toronto FC will spent $18 million on an academy and training facility at Downsview Park in north Toronto. The facility will include three grass fields -- one that will be heated and mirror BMO Field -- one artificial turf field under a bubble and a fieldhouse that will house locker rooms and offices. Construction is slated to start in May and the fields should be ready in April 2012 and the fieldhouse should open a month after that.
"This will compare globally," said Tom Anselmi, executive vice president and COO of M aple Leaf Sports & Entertainment. "We've looked at Ajax, we've looked at Chelsea, we've looked at Pachuca ... We've looked at all the best and this will be right up there. It's going to be world-class, it's going to rival anything you'll see in Europe."
Bob de Klerk, TFC's assistant coach, described the first team's current practice field as "not the best facility" and the TFC academy team field as "horrible." Earl Cochrane, TFC's director of team and player operations, said the new facility will be essential for developing players.
"This day is going to change the face of the game here in Canada," Cochrane said. "It's going to change the way players are developed in Canada. I think this is going to lead us to developing players who are capable of playing on the world stage."