Tom Anselmi defended his decision to extend Mo Johnston's contract by saying, and I quote: "Our expectation was to not make the playoffs the first three years. We didn't think we would."
Not expecting Toronto FC to qualify for the playoffs? In a league where half the teams move on to the post season? In three years of play? With a sellout home crowd of 20 000 per game?
Anselmi also said, "I think you have to look at things in context, and the context is that the GM's responsibility is to provide overall leadership and vision for the franchise, to put a roster together, to build the infrastructure [in terms of] coaching, youth academy, scouting and development systems. That's what the job has been about for the past three years, and I think Mo has done a good job."
In other words, that's what Mo was hired to do, that's what he did. But come on, if he'd failed in any of these quarters, he'd be flat out incompetent—he's the General Manager for god's sake. And as far as GMs go, that stuff is the easy part—if it doesn't translate to a competent product on the pitch, what's the point?
The way Anselmi describes it though, describing the mandate of any GM at any start up MLS franchise and defining success solely in terms of meeting that mandate, is a page right out of the CSA playbook. As long as we meet FIFA's mandate for a national soccer federation, job done. On pitch success is a nice bonus, an afterthought.
I fear that the Canadian soccer administrative culture has filtered down to TFC brass.