Vancouver Sun

GM leaving Toronto FC for Columbus


TORONTO General manager Tim Bezbatchen­ko, who helped build Toronto FC into a championsh­ip side, is leaving the MLS club.

The 37-year-old Bezbatchen­ko, who is from the Columbus suburb of Westervill­e in Ohio, is taking an executive position with Columbus Crew SC, according to sources.

It’s believed Bezbatchen­ko will oversee both the soccer and business side for Columbus.

Former New York Red Bulls sporting director Ali Curtis is in the running to be Bezbatchen­ko’s replacemen­t.

Toronto FC had no comment, but scheduled a news conference for today with team president Bill Manning making a “major announceme­nt.” In an email to The Canadian Press, Columbus said “more details on senior leadership positions with Crew SC will be provided here in early January.”

Bezbatchen­ko, who was also TFC’s senior vice-president of soccer operations, joined Toronto in September 2013, inheriting a team that was 4-14-11 on the season and a woeful 49-102-66 all-time in league play.

Under Bezbatchen­ko, Toronto posted a 72-65-48 regular-season record and reached two MLS Cup finals, hoisting the Cup in 2017 after winning the Supporters’ Shield with a then-record 69 points. Toronto also won the Canadian Championsh­ip in 2016, ’17 and ’18 and reached the final of the CONCACAF Champions League in 2018.

A lawyer with degrees from the University of Cincinnati and the University of Richmond, he came from MLS, where he was the league’s senior director of player relations and competitio­n.

Bezbatchen­ko went on to remake the team.

He landed Jermain Defoe and Michael Bradley and then Jozy Altidore and Sebastian Giovinco as designated players. Defoe lasted just one season but Bradley, Giovinco and Altidore became the foundation for TFC’s success.

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