Toronto FC confirmed former New York Red Bulls coach Chris Armas as Greg Vanney’s successor on Wednesday.
The 48-year-old Armas becomes Toronto’s 10th head coach.
“I could not be more excited to join a club with Toronto FC’s level of excellence and winning tradition and I will work tirelessly to uphold those standards,” Armas said in a statement.
“As an opposing coach I felt the passion the fans and supporters bring to BMO Field. It is next level,” he added. “I can’t wait to put a team on the field that will not only make them proud with the way we play, but also with the way we run, battle and compete every minute of every game.”
Vanney stepped down as head coach and technical director on Dec. 1 after more than six years at TFC’s helm. He subsequently was named coach of the Los Angeles Galaxy.
Armas, an elite defensive midfielder during a 12-year playing career with the Los Angeles Galaxy and Chicago Fire, was released as head coach by the Red Bulls last September with the team at 3-4-2.
He inherits a Toronto club that finished runner-up in the regular-season standings at 13-5-5 despite playing just four matches at home due to pandemic-related travel restrictions.
TFC shifted operations to East Hartford, Conn., exiting in the first round of the playoffs after a 1-0 loss to lower-seeded Nashville.
Armas will join the search for a new designated player, with Toronto opting not pick up the option of Argentine forward Pablo Piatti. Depth in the backline is also a need.
After succeeding Jesse Marsch as head coach of the Red Bulls in July 2018, Armas led the team on a 12-3-3 run to clinch the 2018 Supporters’ Shield. His overall record with New York was 33-27-11 in all competitions.
“Chris has an excellent winning pedigree and is a fiery, competitive guy who wants his teams to play on the front foot,” Toronto president Bill Manning stated. “He is the right fit to build upon the foundation that’s been established at TFC.
“Our fans are going to love his intensity and how that’s going to translate into our team’s style of play for years to come.”
Armas had previously served as a Red Bulls assistant coach for 3 1/2 campaigns, two of which were as the top assistant in charge of New York’s attack.
Current Toronto GM Ali Curtis was sporting director of the Red Bulls from December 2014 to February 2017.
Curtis said Armas was unmatched when it came to “integrity, authenticity, and professionalism.”
“I am excited about his intensity, passion, tactics, and way of teaching. The resources and support that we will provide to Chris will be different than his previous roles, which we know will be beneficial to his vision and our success. We are a team that strives to win championships, and Chris is the ideal coach to lead us now, and in the future.”
Prior to the Red Bulls, Armas was an assistant coach with the Chicago Fire and head coach of the Adelphi University women’s team in Long Island, N.Y.
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Toronto said Armas’ coaching staff will be announced at a later date.