Chris Armas: “I can’t wait to put a team on the field that will not only make them proud with the way we play, but also with the way we run, battle and compete every minute of every game.” (Photo courtesy of Toronto FC)

Chris Armas is back.

The former Red Bulls head coach’s next challenge will be in Canada as he was named Toronto FC’s 10th coachc in its history, the MLS team announced Wednesday.

“I could not be more excited to join a club with Toronto FC’s level of excellence and winning tradition and I will work tirelessly to uphold those standards,” Armas said in a stattement. “I’m grateful to Mr. Tanenbaum and to Bill Manning and Ali Curtis for their belief in me and for giving me this opportunity. As an opposing coach I felt the passion the fans and supporters bring to BMO Field. It is next level. I can’t wait to put a team on the field that will not only make them proud with the way we play, but also with the way we run, battle and compete every minute of every game.”

Armas, 48, joined Toronto FC after most recently serving as the head coach of the Red Bulls. He took over the Red Bulls on July 6, 2018 and finished that season with a record of 12-3-3, leading the Red Bulls to the 2018 Supporters’ Shield and an appearance in the Eastern Conference finals. He departed the Red Bulls Sept. 4, with a record of 33-27-11 in all competitions while his teams averaged 1.61 points per game, (seventh best all-time, minimum 50 MLS games managed). Armas originally served as an assistant coach under Jesse Marsch from 2015 until he took over head coaching duties following Marsch’s departure. In Marsch and Armas’ first season with the Red Bulls, the club won the 2015 Supporters’ Shield.

“Chris has an excellent winning pedigree and is a fiery, competitive guy who wants his teams to play on the front foot. He is the right fit to build upon the foundation that’s been established at TFC,” Toronto FC president Bill Manning said in a statement. “Our fans are going to love his intensity and how that’s going to translate into our team’s style of play for years to come.”

Armas is regarded as one of the best defensive midfielders in MLS history. He played 12 years in the league, two with the LA Galaxy and 10 with the Chicago Fire. With the expansion Fire in 1998, Armas was a linchpin as Chicago won the MLS Cup and U.S. Open Cup double in their first season. During his decade long run in Chicago, Armas was a part of teams that won an MLS Cup (1998), the 2003 Supporters’ Shield and four Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cups (1998, 2000, 2003, 2006).

The Brentwood, N.Y. native is one of only five players in league history to have been named to the MLS Best XI five times (1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003). He was a six-time MLS All-Star (1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2004) and was named the 2003 MLS Comeback Player of the Year. Armas earned 66 caps for the U.S. National Team and won two Concacaf Gold Cups (2002, 2005). He was named U.S. Soccer’s Male Athlete of the Year in 2000.

“During my career, I have been fortunate to have had the experience of interacting with football professionals both domestic and abroad,” said Toronto general manager Ali Curtis, who was the Red Bulls sporting director. “The integrity, authenticity, and professionalism that Chris possesses is unmatched when I think of professionals in the game. Having gone through this process before, I know that Chris will be an excellent coach for the club. While I have known Chris over the years, during the interview process, he conveyed perspective, vision, and coaching qualities, which solidified our belief in him as the top candidate.

“I am excited about his intensity, passion, tactics, and way of teaching. The resources and support that we will provide to Chris will be different than his previous roles, which we know will be beneficial to his vision and our success. There has never been a moment in the history of sports like we are in now. We are a team that strives to win championships, and Chris is the ideal coach to lead us now, and in the future.”