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Sean Rubio returns to Toronto FC front office, this time as technical director

Toronto FC, looking to rebuild its front office, has turned to a familiar face in appointing Sean Rubio technical director.

The 35-year-old Rubio is no stranger to the MLS franchise, having served as TFC’s senior manager of scouting and budget from February 2016 to July 2020. The California native then joined Austin FC, helping build the expansion club ahead of its inaugural 2021 MLS season.

Rubio served as Austin’s director of player personnel before bring promoted to vice-president of player personnel this June. He doubled as Austin’s interim sporting director from January to June.

Toronto (4-19-10) says Rubio will be responsible “for managing the infrastructure and operation of the club’s scouting department,” in addition to working with GM Jason Hernandez on finding talent for the first team and TFC II.

Hernandez was promoted from assistant GM on June 27, the day after Bob Bradley was fired as head coach and sporting director.

Former Canada coach John Herdman is now in charge of the on-field product for cellar-dwelling TFC, which wraps up a dismal season Oct. 21 at home to Orlando City.

WATCH l Herdman on mission to ‘reinvigorate’ TFC, ‘bring it back to win’:

Longtime soccer coach John Herdman says he wants to bring Toronto FC back to its glory

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Featured VideoJohn Herdman spoke to media on Tuesday after being introduced as head coach of Major League Soccer club Toronto FC. He said his mission is to “reinvigorate” the team and “bring it back to win.” He will assume coaching responsibilities as of October 1.

The Toronto front office has had openings since the departure of Bradley and Jack Dodd, who left his role as Toronto’s assistant general manager of player personnel and scouting in May to become the Portland Timbers’ technical director.

And there had been plenty of movement before that.

Several members of the Toronto front office joined GM Tim Bezbatchenko when he left for the Columbus Crew in January 2019. And former coach Greg Vanney took more than a few staff members with him when he landed with the Los Angeles Galaxy after quitting TFC in December 2020.

Dodd’s departure, after nine years in the Toronto front office, left a big hole. He watched the world for TFC, helping identify and acquire former MLS MVPs Sebastian Giovinco and Alejandro Pozuelo as well as Spanish midfielder Victor Vazquez.

Like Dodd, Rubio was part of the team behind Toronto’s championship season in 2017 when TFC won the MLS Cup, Canadian Championship and Supporters’ Shield.

Hernandez cited Rubio’s expertise in welcoming him to the club.

“He has experienced success at multiple clubs in Major League Soccer and worked extensively within the unique league ecosystem ranging from expansion, MLS SuperDraft selections, to TAM [targeted allocation money] and DP [designated player] target acquisitions,” Hernandez said in a statement Monday.

“Sean’s understanding of MLS and more specifically, Toronto FC, make him an excellent fit to boost our capabilities as a front office group. His quality of character and passion for our club and city will prove to be invaluable as we work toward 2024 and beyond.”

At Austin, Rubio oversaw the roster management and compliance across the first team, Austin FC II and academy.

“I couldn’t be happier to be joining Toronto FC,” Rubio said in a statement. “The club has supportive ownership and a passionate fan base. I’m looking forward to working closely with our players and staff to bring success to the city of Toronto.”

Before his first stint with Toronto, Rubio was a video analyst for the San Jose Earthquakes from 2011 to 2014.

On Sunday, Austin announced a revamped scouting and recruitment department, adding five new full-time scouts in Europe and South America.

Rodolfo Borrell, hired as Austin’s sporting director in July, will oversee scouting and player personnel matters. Like Rubio, chief scout Manuel Junco has also left Austin.

The changes come in the wake of Austin (10-15-8) failing to make the playoffs this season. Austin reached the Western Conference final last year, losing 3-0 to eventual champion Los Angeles FC.

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