John's on the job

JACK KAZMIERSKI

, Last Updated: 2:50 AM ET

A native of Newcastle, England, Toronto FC head coach John Carver has made Toronto his new home as he whips TFC into shape and turns the them into a force to be reckoned with.

Already, Carver said prior to the first game of the year, his team is primed and ready for the season ahead.

"We're exactly where we want to be this year. The good news is we're going into a very competitive game," he said about the March 21 match up against the Kansas City Wizards which TFC won. "And we're prepared for that. I've had my team from the start this year, and have been able to do work that I couldn't do last year. So to be perfectly honest, I think we're ahead of where we were last year."

Carver has a few goals and milestones lined up for his team this year.

"We want to win more games on the road," he said. "I think home performances were very good and that needs to continue. Individual players have individual goals too, and we'll set team goals as the season unfolds."

Carver is also keeping a close eye on the number of goals scored.

"We'll set up points we need to achieve by a certain amount of time and that will be split into thirds -- the start, the middle and the end of the season."

Having said that, Carver is pleased with his team's achievement and progress.

"I looked at the numbers," he said, "and from the first season to the second season there was a 10-point- improvement."

Although the team is improving, Carver stops short of promising a victory.

"Everyone is talking about playoffs," he said. "If I get the same progress I got last year then that will take care of itself, but I'm not going to sit here and say that we're definitely going to get into the playoffs and win the competition. It's unrealistic.

"This is all about a building process. I can see the club getting stronger. We're stronger behind the scenes where I have the staff that I want. We're stronger on the field and we have more depth, so all-in-all we're progressing and building. But at the same time we've brought in three or four new guys and I have to make sure the chemistry is right for them to blend into the team and get the right team on the field to play games."

As Carver enters his second season as head coach, he's happy with his new hometown.

"I love Toronto," he said. "We joked about it just the other morning. I told everyone that I can't wait to get my Canadian citizenship. They laughed, but that's how much I love the place. I like being in Toronto. It's a great city and people have been very friendly."

"One of the main attractions for me is that the fans are very similar to those back in England. They're passionate and right behind the team even when things aren't going well. That was one of the main reasons I came here."


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