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Herdman adds another member of his Canada Soccer staff to the Toronto FC ranks

TORONTO — John Herdman added to his staff at Toronto FC on Tuesday, bringing César Meylan on board as the MLS club's director of performance.
Cesar Meylan, Toronto FC's new director of performance, is shown at training in Toronto on Oct. 2, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Toronto FC, Andy Truong

TORONTO — John Herdman added to his staff at Toronto FC on Tuesday, bringing César Meylan on board as the MLS club's director of performance.

The Swiss native is a familiar sight to Canadian soccer fans, having spent the last 12 years with Canada Soccer working with both the men's and women's teams.

Meylan was also part of Herdman's staff in New Zealand prior to coming to Canada.

Meylan joins Eric Tenllado, Simon Eaddy, Robyn Gayle, and Alex Dodgshon, who were also part of Herdman's staff at Canada Soccer, at TFC.

The club says Meylan will oversee the strength and conditioning programs for the first team, Toronto FC II and TFC academy, working closely with head athletic therapist Carmelo Lobue on player health and rehabilitation. 

"Adding a professional like César is crucial for improving our team’s physical performance," Toronto president Bill Manning said in a statement. "César has years of experience working with players at the highest level, and his familiarity with John and his staff will greatly benefit us in an area where we need to improve. We’re excited to welcome him to Toronto FC."

Herdman and the club will be hoping that Meylan can help reduce the number of injuries the club has experienced. There were games this season when TFC had a double-digit number of players listed as out or questionable through injury.

General manager Jason Hernandez says the 4-17-10 club will be taking a deep dive into the reasons behind the spate of injuries.

"That is actually a big part of César joining us ," he said in an interview.

"That certainly would be a big task for us moving forward, to make sure that that department and that part of our operation is operating to its optimal level," he added. "Because we've seen very clearly that when we don't have access to our guys, how difficult it can be to get a result"

Meylan served as a physical performance coach and department lead with Canada Soccer before becoming director of health and athletic performance for the men's and women's programs.

He worked with the women's team at the 2012, 2016 and 2022 Olympics, where it won bronze, bronze and gold medals. He was also part of the women's support team at the 2016 and 2019 World Cups and was part of Herdman's staff for last year's men's World Cup.

Meylan's qualifications include a master of art in Physical Education (University of Lausanne, Switzerland), master of science in biomechanics (Edith Cowan University, Australia) and doctorate in strength and conditioning (Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand). He is currently an adjunct professor at the University of British Columbia.

Toronto has three games remaining this season, at Charlotte FC on Wednesday and the New York Red Bulls on Saturday before returning home for the Oct. 21 finale against Orlando City.

Herdman and his new staff will serve as spectators for the two away games before taking charge ahead of the season closer.


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This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 3, 2023

Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press