Step aside Steven Caldwell. There’s a new captain in town.
American midfielder Michael Bradley will serve as Toronto FC captain for the 2015 Major League Soccer season, Sportsnet has learned. Bradley is the seventh captain in club history.
Toronto FC made an official announcement on Tuesday evening.
Bradley replaces Scottish defender Caldwell, who previously served as captain and has one year remaining on his contract with the Reds.
The fact that Bradley has taken the captain’s armband from Caldwell should hardly come as a surprise.
Tim Leiweke, president and CEO of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, told a group of TFC supporters last week that the American would be captain for the upcoming MLS campaign.
Also, TFC is widely regarded as “Bradley’s team,” as the American restructured his current contract so the club could sign forward Jozy Altidore. TFC management also consulted Bradley on a number of its off-season moves, including the signing of Italian playmaker Sebastian Giovinco.
Last month on the opening day of training camp, TFC coach Greg Vanney told reporters he planned to meet with the players individually over the ensuing weeks before making a decision over who’ll wear the captain’s armband for the 2015 season.
Caldwell admitted he’d be disappointed if the captaincy was taken away from him.
“I love being captain of this football club. I’ve captained every team I’ve played for since I was 15, so it’s something I relish and enjoy. I think I’m quite good at it. It’s a great honour to be captain of any club. I don’t treat it lightly. I love being captain of Toronto. I hope to stay on,” Caldwell said at the time.
It’ll be interesting to see how this switch in captain plays out. Will Caldwell accept losing the captaincy with good grace? Will the rest of the players readily accept Bradley as captain? What kind of tensions, if any, this will create in the locker-room?