Anselmi Delivers an Christmas Present

Kevin Payne joins TFC as the club’s new president; but does he know what he’s in for?
by Sonja Missio   |   Monday, December 03, 2012

Red Dawn Rising - column on Toronto FC (TFC) & the Toronto Ontario soccer scene

On Wednesday, Nov. 28, Toronto FC officially announced the hiring of Kevin Payne as the club's new president. The news unofficially broke a day before, when Twitter exploded over reports that Payne had left his position as president and chief executive officer at D.C. United and was moving to join a new MLS club.

Putting two and two together, many online sources predicted Payne would move to Toronto. The club made it official the following day.

My fellow Soccer Newsday colleague, Henrik Lonne, wrote a great article about it here.

Well, who would have thought that Tom Anselmi would not only have read, but actually delivered on, my Christmas Wishlist? Had I known, I would have changed my top request to a puppy. Or, the Nespresso Aeroccino.

But I digress. I am glad that I convinced the team to hire a president. Toronto FC fans everywhere: you’re welcome.

However, still in the spirit of the holiday season, I am being a bit of a Grinch about the whole situation.

This is nothing against Payne personally – though, for the love of God, everyone stop with the puns – but is more my cynicism of what he is getting into. We have been promised success before, only to receive, well, nothing.  

Therefore, I have taken the liberty of writing an open letter to Payne, to inform him what exactly he signed up for, and to remind myself that we’ve heard all these promises from the club before.


Dear Mr. Payne,

Welcome to Toronto. May I advise you to invest in a good set of toques – Toronto has a lot of wind tunnels and you’re going to be right by the lake.

Anyway, we are all really glad to have you here and we hope that you can deliver what we are hoping for: a successful season and a team to be proud of.

Please don’t get me wrong, I am sure you are very capable of achieving both, but Toronto is a bit of a different beast than what you may be used to.

You see, Mr. Payne, Toronto and its fans have been let down a lot in the past. We’ve had promises of being rebuilt, restructured and revered. We have seen our would-be-saviours walk in, and then out, of the revolving doors of TFC, as well as our hearts. We had the proverbial carrot of success hung in front of our faces, only to watch it rot. 

You come to us while we are at our most vulnerable and at your mercy. We’ve been promised the world before by others, only to be left with less than what we started with. You need to be gentle with us, we’ve been hurt before.

However, we – Torontonians, that is – are a stout and sturdy bunch and we know how to solider on. It’s not so much the mantra of “Keep Calm, Carry On” passed down by the British, but rather our own Toronto way of, “Ah, Don’t Worry, We Can Get It Done Right Eventually.”

And hopefully that “eventually” is now.

Mr. Payne, you are not just coming to another MLS team, you are coming to a Canadian MLS team; it’s a very unique culture. We are proud of our heritage and we are proud of our future and hopefully you learn what it is like to work for – nay, with – a Canadian soccer team.

I am sure you will catch on quickly. The enthusiasm for our little club is infectious. You will see the great and untapped talent waiting before you on the Lakeshore (and further north at Downsview at the TFC Academy and Training Facility). You will see the pride and excitement from its fans. You will see the future potential of how great this club, and everyone around it, can be.

You will see it, and hopefully, you will cultivate, nurture and bring it to life.

As I have done with others before, I am willing to put my blind faith and trust in you. I realize you can’t walk on water, but, hopefully, you do have a miracle or two up your sleeve. We’re counting on you.

Welcome to Toronto, Mr. Payne.


Sonja Cori Missio.

PS – Kevin? More, like, Can-win! 


Univ. of Guelph, Univ. of W. Ontario, Brock University
Club Domestic:
Toronto FC
Club Foreign:
Supported Udinese since birth, TFC was her own stupid decision; writing on her masochistic relationship with soccer started after. Doomed as a Canadian - Friulano - Swiss - Filipina. Searching for Juventini actually from Turin and running for FIFA Prez.