Before he joined Toronto FC in 2013 as the front office’s youthful ball of energy, TFC general manager Tim Bezbatchenko was MLS’s contracts czar. In addition to overseeing the complex budgets of each franchise’s intricately webbed first team, Bezbatchenko oversaw the nuts and bolts of the league’s popular Homegrown Rule. At the end of the day, contracts and rules flowed through his office.
When Bezbatchenko joined Toronto FC, he was aware the club had just completed work on the KIA Training Ground, a $21 million palace that houses Toronto FC’s academy sides. It’s arguably the finest standalone academy facility for an MLS team, and it was part of the allure that drew Bezbatchenko north of the border. It became immediately clear that MLSE’s pockets ran deeper than perhaps he even thought.
In fact, when Bezbatchenko was first brought to the club’s campus by Tim Leiweke on a recruiting trip, he could hardly believe his eyes.
“My jaw hit the floor when I saw KIA Training Ground,” Bezbatchenko says.