Greg Vanney

Greg Vanney (born June 11, 1974) is an American former professional soccer player and current head coach of Toronto FC in MLS.

Greg Vanney
Personal information
Full name Greg Vanney
Date of birth (1974-06-11) June 11, 1974
Place of birth South Boston, Virginia, United States
Height 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)
Playing position Defender
Club information
Current team
Toronto FC (head coach)
College career
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1992–1993 FIU Golden Panthers
1993–1995 UCLA Bruins
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1995–1996 Sacramento Scorpions 3 (3)
1996–2002 Los Angeles Galaxy 168 (21)
2002–2005 Bastia 65 (0)
2005–2006 FC Dallas 53 (1)
2006–2007 Colorado Rapids 9 (0)
2007–2008 D.C. United 15 (0)
2008–2009 Los Angeles Galaxy 25 (0)
Total 338 (25)
National team
1996–2006 United States 37 (1)
Teams managed
2011–2012 Chivas USA (assistant)
2014– Toronto FC
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of October 26, 2008
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of October 26, 2008

A defender and one of MLS's original players, he spent 10 seasons in the league and another three-and-a-half in the French First Division playing for Sporting Club de Bastia between 2002 and 2005. He also earned 36 caps, scoring one goal, with the U.S. national team between 1996 and 2006.

In 2017, as manager of Toronto FC, Vanney won the domestic treble, winning the MLS Cup, Supporters' Shield and the Canadian Championship.

Playing career

High school and college

Vanney played soccer for Marcos de Niza High School in Tempe, Arizona, and led the team to three consecutive state championship titles in 1990, 1991, and 1992. Vanney holds the school record for most assists by one player in a season with 13 for the 1990-1991 season, and also holds the school record for most goals by one player in a single season with 33 goals for the 1991-1992 season. He was also named the 5A player of the year for the 1991-1992 season, Gatorade Player of the Year, NSCAA and Parade All-America in 1992. Greg Vanney played college soccer for Florida International University in 1992, and for UCLA from 1993 to 1995. In 1995, Vanney was named All-America honorable mention and finished his senior season with 8 goals and 10 assists.


Vanney was drafted 17th overall in the 1996 MLS College Draft by the Los Angeles Galaxy. The team sent him on loan to the Sacramento Scorpions of USISL for three games at the beginning of the season where he netted three goals in three games including two game winners.[1] Vanney played for the Galaxy for six years, from 1996 to 2001, and was consistently one of the best defenders in MLS, leading the Galaxy to three MLS Cup Finals and CONCACAF Champion's Cup Championships, and was also named to the MLS Best XI in both 2000 and 2001 and an MLS All-Star in 2001. After the 2001 MLS season, Vanney transferred to the French First Division club SC Bastia. In the first six months with Bastia, Vanney helped lead the French Club to its first appearance in the Coupe de France Final in over 20 years. He left the club in 2005, coming back to MLS and signing with FC Dallas. After two seasons with the Hoops, and two All-Star selections, Vanney was traded to Colorado on January 12, 2007. On 06/29/07 Vanney was traded from the Rapids to D.C. United. On February 15, 2008 the rights for Greg Vanney were transferred to his first club, the Los Angeles Galaxy. Vanney announced his retirement from the professional game on October 26, 2008; his last game against his former club FC Dallas. [2]


Vanney also spent 11 years as a member of the United States national team, debuting December 21, 1996 against Guatemala, and played 36 games and scored one goal (September 2005). Vanney participated in three FIFA World Cup qualifying cycles for the United States (1998, 2002 and 2006). He was originally named as an alternate for the 2002 FIFA World Cup but initially replaced the injured Chris Armas on the roster after the midfielder picked up an ACL injury in a warm-up friendly against Uruguay on May 12, 2002. Vanney was himself injured in the next warm-up friendly on May 16, 2002 against Jamaica and was replaced on the roster by Steve Cherundolo. Vanney also was a member of the 2005 CONCACAF Gold Cup Championship team and was featured in the early part of 2006 FIFA World Cup qualifying for the United States.

Coaching career

Early career

Vanney has more than 15 years experience in youth soccer: coaching, directing and consulting. He holds a USSF "A" Coaching License and has been actively involved with the U.S. Soccer Development Academy as a scout and other programming. Vanney was a member of the U.S. Soccer Education Staff that traveled to Spain in March 2010.

Vanney was an Academy Director for Real Salt Lake from 2008 to 2011.[3] Vanney and his staff, with the support of Grande Sports World and Real Salt Lake, established the first MLS Residential Academy in the United States in fewer than 8 months. The U-18 and U-16 boys teams began play in Fall 2010.

Greg Vanney moved back to Arizona in 2008. For some time, he held two titles: (1.) Director of Soccer Operations at Grande Sports World in Casa Grande, Arizona and (2.) Director of the Real Salt Lake-Arizona Youth Academy. As Director of Soccer Operations, Vanney oversaw program and event development at the Grande Sports World facility featuring 8 professional quality fields; state-of-the-art 58,000 sq ft (5,400 m2) performance center with 4 stadium quality locker rooms; 10,000 sq ft (930 m2) weight room, physical therapy and 16 classrooms. In the first year, Vanney has help attract four professional teams (Real Salt Lake, Seattle Sounders FC, Colorado Rapids, and Vancouver Whitecaps FC) to the facility to host their preseason camps.

In January 2011, Vanney joined Chivas USA as an assistant coach.[3]

Toronto FC

I think we need to change the energy, be more aggressive, be potentially less careful about making mistakes and looking to be more aggressive.


Vanney got his first head coaching job in Major League Soccer when he became the ninth head coach for Toronto FC after Ryan Nelsen was dismissed on August 31, 2014, with 10 games remaining in the 2014 regular season.[4] He inherited a 9–9–6 record.[4] In his debut match, Toronto lost 1–0 to the Philadelphia Union.[5] His first win came in a match that finished 3–0 against Chivas USA.[6] He finished off the 2014 season in seventh place in the Eastern Conference[7] with a record of two wins, six losses and two ties.[8]

Toronto were eliminated from the Canadian Championship during the 2015 season,[9] although they qualified for the playoffs for the first time that season, after finishing sixth in the Eastern Conference.[10] The club's rivals Montreal Impact eliminated Toronto in the knockout round.[11]

During the 2016 season, Toronto won the Canadian Championship[12] and qualified for the playoffs after finishing in third place in the Eastern Conference.[13] They got to the MLS Cup final[14] where they lost in shoot-out 5–4 to Seattle Sounders following a goalless draw after extra-time.[15]

The arrival of Spanish playmaker Victor Vázquez in midfield at the beginning of the 2017 season saw less responsibility placed on the club's star forward Sebastian Giovinco and captain Michael Bradley to create Toronto's goalscoring opportunities, and this in turn freed up the Italian, enabling him to focus more on his attacking game; furthermore, Greg Vanney's switch in tactics from a 4–4–2 diamond to a 3–5–2 formation benefitted Giovinco's and Jozy Altidore's attacking partnership: by playing closer together, and with Vázquez now supporting them as the team's main creator, the attacking duo began to demonstrate a deeper understanding and an increased awareness of each other's movements, which improved their link-up play, and saw an increase in Altidore's goalscoring output throughout the season.[16][17][18] On 27 June, Toronto defeated Montreal 2–1 at home in the second leg of the 2017 Canadian Championship final to capture the title for the second consecutive season, edging Montreal 3–2 on aggregate.[19] On September 30, 2017, Toronto FC captured the Supporters' Shield with a 4–2 home win over New York Red Bulls, to clinch top of the league with the most points that season.[20] On November 27, 2017, Vanney won the MLS Coach of the Year award.[21] On December 9, 2017 Vanney led Toronto FC to MLS Cup victory in a 2–0 victory against Seattle.[22] Greg Vanney was also named CONCACAF coach of the year on December 19, 2017, and was balloted by association women's and men's team coaches, members, and captains, as well as the media and fans.

Coaching record

As of game played on July 21, 2019.
Toronto FCAugust 31, 2014[4]present 201 86 71 44 347 293 +54 042.79 [8][9][10][11][12][13][14]

Personal life

Vanney is the uncle of Toronto FC defender Eriq Zavaleta.[23]


In 2009, Greg Vanney provided color commentary with play-by-play announcer Kevin Calabro for Seattle Sounders FC games on FSN Northwest and KONG-TV and radio.[24]


Vanney participates on the U.S. Soccer Professional Referee Committee as well as being a representative on the U.S. Soccer Athlete's Council.




United States


Los Angeles Galaxy
D.C. United



Toronto FC



  2. "United hopes pair will be final piece". Retrieved 15 July 2007.
  3. McIntyre, Doug (31 August 2014). "Ryan Nelsen fired as Toronto FC coach". ESPN FC. Retrieved 1 September 2014.
  4. Smith, Doug (August 31, 2014). "Toronto FC fires coaches, Jermain Defoe might go". Toronto Star. Archived from the original on September 1, 2014. Retrieved August 31, 2014.
  5. Larson, Kurtis (September 3, 2014). "Almost time to panic after another TFC loss". Toronto Sun. Retrieved September 3, 2014.
  6. Rubin, Josh (September 21, 2014). "Toronto FC dominates in defeating Chivas USA". Toronto Star. Retrieved September 22, 2014.
  7. "USA » Major League Soccer 2014 » 8. Round". World Football. Retrieved December 5, 2016.
  8. "Toronto FC » Fixtures & Results 2014/2015". World Football. Retrieved December 5, 2016.
  9. "Canada » Canadian Championship 2015 » Schedule". World Football. Retrieved December 5, 2016.
  10. "USA » Major League Soccer 2015 » 8. Round". World Football. Retrieved December 5, 2016.
  11. McIntyre, Doug (October 29, 2015). "Montreal Impact completely outclass Toronto FC in MLS battle for Canada". ESPN FC. Retrieved December 5, 2016.
  12. "Canada » Canadian Championship 2016 » Schedule". World Football. Retrieved December 6, 2016.
  13. "USA » Major League Soccer 2016 » 8. Round". World Football. Retrieved December 6, 2016.
  14. "USA » Major League Soccer 2016 Playoffs » Schedule". World Football. Retrieved December 6, 2016.
  15. Larson, Kurt (December 10, 2016). "Toronto FC loses MLS Cup in heartbreaking fashion". Toronto Sun. Retrieved December 11, 2016.
  16. Kristina Rutherford (9 September 2017). "Big Read: Why Victor Vazquez is like no player in Toronto FC history". Retrieved 1 November 2017.
  17. John Molinaro (3 May 2017). "Altidore, Giovinco making magic up front together for TFC". Retrieved 1 November 2017.
  18. Sebastian Giovinco (5 October 2017). "Sebastian Giovinco on his love for Toronto FC, growing up in Turin and Juventus". Retrieved 2 November 2017.
  19. "Toronto FC repeat as Canadian Champions; earn berth in CONCACAF Champions League". 27 June 2017. Retrieved 27 June 2017.
  20. "Kings of the League: Toronto FC win first Supporters' Shield". Major League Soccer. September 30, 2017.
  21. "Toronto FC's Greg Vanney names 2017 MLS Coach of the Year". 27 November 2017.
  22. "Recap: Toronto FC vs Seattle Sounders". December 9, 2017. Retrieved December 9, 2017.
  23. "MLS signs Indiana star Eriq Zavaleta, five NCAA senior standouts". Soccer Wire. January 7, 2013. Retrieved March 24, 2013.
  24. Molinaro, John (May 5, 2017). "TFC coach Vanney and the broadcast career that never was". Sportsnet. Retrieved December 3, 2017.
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