Danny Dichio, who scored Toronto FC’s first-ever goal, named Detroit FC coach

Former Toronto FC player Danny Dichio takes part in the official opening day of training camp at BMO Field in Toronto on Monday, Feb. 2, 2009. (Nathan Denette/CP)

Danny Dichio, who scored the first goal in Toronto FC history, has been named head coach of the USL Championship’s Detroit FC.

The English forward played three seasons for TFC and became part of club lore May 12, 2007, when he scored in the 24th minute of a 3-1 win over the Chicago Fire at BMO Field.

The goal came from an Edson Buddle cross, raked into the goal by a falling Dichio at the edge of the six-yard box to end the expansion franchise’s 384-minute scoring drought.

Toronto had opened life in Major League Soccer with road losses to Chivas USA, New England and Sporting Kansas City followed by a home defeat to Kansas City. All were shutouts.

The goal triggered a sea of Frisbee-like commemorative seat cushions hurled onto the field by jubilant fans like rice at a wedding.

Dichio, now 49, retired after the 2009 season, the final chapter in a lengthy football career that included stints with England’s Queens Park Rangers, Welling United, Barnet, Sunderland, West Bromwich Albion, Derby County, Millwall and Preston and Italy’s Sampdoria and Lecce.

After 59 league appearances for Toronto, he transitioned into an ambassador role for the club and took up a position on its academy coaching staff in 2009. Dichio spent more than a decade in the TFC youth system before joining Sacramento Republic FC as an assistant coach ahead of the 2022 USL Championship campaign. 

Dichio succeeds Trevor James, who has moved into the Detroit front office as sporting director.

“Danny’s football philosophy and strong commitment to accountability and personal responsibility match up perfectly with the identity we want our team to continue to embody,” James said in a statement.

Dichio has signed a two-year contract with Detroit, which finished eighth in the USL Championship Eastern Conference last season at 11-15-8.

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