CHARLESTON, S.C. — An apologetic Adrian Cann faced the media post-game Saturday expressing regret for leaving Toronto FC training camp last week to try to renegotiate a new contract.
“I’d like to apologize to the fans in Toronto, as well as the organization and my fellow teammates, as well as Aron,” said Cann, standing alongside head coach Aron Winter.
“I made a mistake by leaving. I had a mental lapse — it happens, but it won’t happen again.”
Winter told Sun Media last week Cann would be welcomed back to Toronto FC if he apologized to the team. Cann adhered to Winter’s demands, said his piece and now the coach wants to move on.
“I don’t have comment. I had a good conversation with Adrian and we have to look to the future and not the past,” said Winter.
Cann rejoined the team in Charleston Friday night after being missing in action for 10 days. The defender missed two games in the Carolina Challenge Cup while away, but says “for the most part”, his teammates understand.
“(My teammates) are very embracing. I feel kind of bad leaving them and not support them, but my heart is always with the guys,” Cann said.
Toronto FC called Cann’s high-stakes bluff, and the player comes out the loser after it all. The ill-fated exercise cost Cann more than just embarrassment; it will cost him money. When Cann left training camp, he left two superior contract options on the table behind him.
Those contract offers were drawn up at Winter’s wishes, and were for more money and longer terms. Cann will make $124,000 this season with little job security going forward.
Cann’s decision to return spares Major League Soccer from making a difficult decision about what to do with a player refusing to play while under contract. Behind closed doors, discussions were had.
There has been no word whether any league influence affected the way the situation played out.
“I have a big heart; my heart’s always with Toronto and it will never change,” said Cann.
The local product remains one of Toronto FC’s top players. Cann’s big heart and bigger performances are going to be massively important for a team short on experience and light on proven talent.