RedNation Online recently had the chance to catch up with Canadian International Terry Dunfield to discuss his recent trade from the Vancouver Whitecaps to Toronto FC. Always candid, Dunfield discusses his move from Vancouver to Toronto, the status of the injury that has prevented him from making his TFC debut thus far, how he might fit into TFC Head Coach Aron Winter’s midfield, the opportunity to play with Torsten Frings and Julian de Guzman and his chance to compete in the CONCACAF Champions League.
RedNation Online (RNO): I think the first question that is on the minds of many Toronto FC fans would centre on the status of your injury. When do you think we will see you make your debut in a TFC kit?
Terry Dunfield: It’s tough to tell. Today I trained for the first time and all went well. So we’ll see how it reacts tomorrow and we’ll make a decision for Wednesday. And if not Wednesday, it will be Saturday.
RNO: You played against Toronto five times already this year and you have trained and played in Toronto with the Canadian Men’s National Team. Do you already have a good feel for the team and the city?
Terry Dunfield: I’d definitely say I have a good feel for both. On the soccer side of things, I’ve enjoyed all of my games at BMO, both with Vancouver and with Canada. Off the field, I’ve got a good feel for the city. The people are really friendly and I think the way of life here could really suit me.
RNO: In Vancouver, you often played in a midfield with talented young players in Gershon Koffie and Jeb Brovsky. Here you could conceivably play in a midfield with two older and about as experienced players as you could find in Torsten Frings and Julian de Guzman. Will that change your approach to the game and is playing with Torsten and Julian something you are looking forward to?
Terry Dunfield: Yeah, for sure. With Torsten his career speaks for itself. Playing alongside him, hopefully I will learn things. And hopefully he’ll make me a better player. And getting the opportunity to play with Julian – as I did with Canada – he brings the best out of me and hopefully I will do the same for him. Also, I think it will be good for Canadian soccer and the World Cup qualifying that is around the corner.
RNO: As you just mentioned, you have trained and played with Julian de Guzman with the CMNT. Do you think that national team duty will enable you to link up effectively with him on the pitch more quickly?
Terry Dunfield: Definitely. We played two games together at the Gold Cup this summer. He is a talented footballer and playing alongside such good players, chemistry seems to come easily.
RNO: Reports around the trade have been pretty emphatic that Toronto went full bore in showing their desire to acquire you. It's obviously hard to leave family and friends in Vancouver, but does the fact that Toronto wanted you so badly lessen that blow??
Terry Dunfield: It’s always important to be wanted where you are at. Things changed a little bit in Vancouver when the manager changed. As soon as I was told about the trade to Toronto I couldn’t wait to get out here to begin working and to get over groin strain and to show the fans what I can do.
RNO: Do you think your style of play will integrate with the Dutch style 4-3-3 approach that Aron Winter and Bob de Klerk have been implementing with TFC?
Terry Dunfield: I hope so. We’ll soon find out. It’s important that whatever system you play, that you win your battles and use that system as a guideline. Hopefully we can use that framework to bring results to the club. It’s a slow process, but hopefully with some of these upcoming games we can turn them into wins.
RNO: What has Aron told you about what he expects from you and how you fit into his overall vision for the team?
Terry Dunfield: It’s been difficult because I was only able to train today (on Monday), but he has explained the way that he wants TFC to play and he expects me to play similar to the way that I did for Vancouver and Canada, but in a TFC shirt.
RNO: You have sat out due to injury for your first two games with TFC, which is something that no player wants to do. Looking on the positive side of that, has having had the opportunity to watch those two losses from the sideline given you an idea about what you need to do in order to help Toronto win matches and how you could fit in with the team?
Terry Dunfield: I have watched a lot of TFC games on TV and have also played them often. It has been a good opportunity to sit back and look at the system and to analyze some of the players and what some of their strengths and weaknesses are. When I do get out on the pitch, I hope it will have helped me to bring out the best in my teammates.
RNO: As a hometown boy on the Whitecaps, you were often the centre of attention and the face of the franchise. As a Canadian you are probably still going to be a go to guy with the media here with TFC, but I'm wondering if you think you will be able to focus more on football here in Toronto?
Terry Dunfield: From what I have heard, the media attention was a little bit similar to what it was like for Toronto in its first season in the MLS. With Jay DeMerit being injured for most of the season, I was a team captain there and I enjoyed that role, which also lead to playing at the Gold Cup. Unfortunately, I came back (from the Gold Cup) and played a little bit with a groin strain and things didn’t end great. But now that I am feeling fit, whatever role comes my way at TFC, I will embrace it. And the most important thing is for the team to get results..
RNO: One of the main reasons that Aron made so many changes to his roster was that he wanted to have strong leaders in each third of the pitch and he has highlighted Torsten Frings and Danny Koevermans as two players he expects to be leaders on and off the pitch. You are also a veteran player and, as you said, you were a captain and vice-captain with Vancouver - are you looking to take a leadership role with TFC?
Terry Dunfield: I did enjoy being a leader in Vancouver. It comes naturally to me. The way I play is infectious and I play with my heart on my sleeve. Hopefully that will make others follow suit.
RNO: With the trade, you are going to get to play in the CONCACAF Champions League after all. Did you pay much attention to the run that Real Salt Lake made in that tournament?
Terry Dunfield: I did. Speaking with Will Johnson at the Gold Cup, he spoke of the run that Real Salt Lake had and how good it was for the organization and also the city. Hopefully this will be a silver lining in our season this year.
RNO: You scored a cracker of a goal for Canada at BMO Field against Ecuador. Does BMO Field look like it could be a very nice home away from home for you??
Terry Dunfield: It already does feel like a home here. From my first game here with Canada against Ecuador, and also the games in the Nurtilite and the league here, BMO has felt like home. I’m just very excited to get out there and get working and to show the players, staff and fans what I can do on the field.