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There may be no team official more synonymous with a club in Major League Soccer than Kevin Payne has been with D.C. United, but after 17 seasons with the team, Payne is moving on to a new challenge with a new team.
Sources have confirmed to SBI that Payne is leaving D.C. United to take over as team president of Toronto FC. Payne’s departure, first reported by the Washington Post, came as a surprise in MLS circles, but TFC’s search for a leader to help the club’s struggling fortunes have landed them one of the most respected officials in MLS.
Payne’s move to Toronto FC should make for an interesting month and year ahead for the Canadian club as Payne makes decisions on the front office and coaching situations. Paul Mariner had been expected to remain as ahead coach heading into 2013, but that seems like it could be in jeopardy of Payne decides to go in another direction.
Payne already has some established ties to the TFC front office. Current Director of Team and Player Operations Earl Cochrane worked for two years as D.C. United’s Director of Communications while TFC Academy director Thomas Rongen was once a head coach at D.C. United, winning the 1999 MLS Cup with the club.
Payne has been a key figure in D.C. United’s successful tenure in MLS, a run that has seen the club win four MLS Cup titles, four MLS Supporters Shields and two U.S. Open Cup titles. New ownership arrived earlier this year and has taken on a more prominent role in the club, paving the way for Payne’s exit.
What do you think of this development? See D.C. United succeeding without Payne? Where do you see him winding up?
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