The Whitecaps are still on the hunt for outgoing head coach Martin Rennie's replacement. Goal's Martin MacMahon breaks down some of the qualities the new man must possess.
We aren't privy to that catalogue of characteristics the new man must possess, but that doesn't mean we can't put together a list of our own.
As the 'Caps prepare to enter their fourth Major League Soccer season, and set out to hire their fourth coach, this next decision must be one made for the long haul.
Continuity when it comes to coaches is generally the best way to achieve consistent success, and juggling tacticians like a certain Ontario-based outfit tends to do, while entertaining in a sadistic sort of way, ultimately brings more pain than pleasure for all parties involved.
The new gaffer must have top level playing or management experience, and ideally, both.
Perhaps one of those is expendable, but it was clear from listening to both club president Bob Lenarduzzi and captain Jay DeMerit at the press conference where it was announced that former head coach Martin Rennie's contract would not be renewed that a proven body of work at a high level would be mandatory.
2. Knowledgeable about Major League Soccer
When asked if MLS experience was mandatory at the same press conference referenced above, Lenarduzzi left open the possibility that the club could hire someone without previous involvement in the league.
If someone is hired without MLS experience, they must at least have an understanding of its complex rules, salary cap, and the complications involved with things such as the extensive travel in comparison to many other leagues.
3. Willing to trust youth
The club's owners have invested millions of dollars in youth development through Vancouver's residency program. The new coach will be expected to use this resource and give emerging talent a chance to shine.
In addition, the club has a number of young draft picks and signings that will need opportunities to thrive in the coming years.
No, we're not talking about tailored suits and fancy scarves. Although, let's face it, they're pretty cool. We're talking pass-and-move, ball on the floor, possession football.
This season the 'Caps played their most stylish soccer of the MLS era – the new coach will be expected to continue that trend, while bringing more consistent on-field results.
5. Psychological acumen
As with most professional sports teams, there are some big egos in the Vancouver locker room. Just look at Darren Mattocks' recent outburst on Jamaican TV to get a taste of what some players think of themselves.
The new coach must have the steel to bring certain players down a peg or two when required, and the ability to lift players not reaching their potential due to confidence issues with an arm over the shoulder when needed.
Having a fat Rolodex worth of contacts is a major asset, especially when it comes to player acquisition.
Knowing a slew of top level coaches, agents and scouts who can help provide information or tips on potential targets is absolutely essential, especially in a league with as much parity as MLS.
7. Media savvy
Being able to deal with the media on a day-to-day basis must be viewed as an opportunity to connect with fans, rather than an annoyance.
The Vancouver media pay a lot of attention to the Whitecaps – a big difference from many MLS markets – and this can create tense interactions when the side is struggling. A man able to navigate the press in an assertive way while maintaining composure is key.
8. Fear factor
The best coaches in the game often have an edge that pushes the line of what is legal. Retired Manchester United boss Alex Ferguson's “hairdryer” dressing down treatment of poorly performing players was the stuff of legend, and fabled former Nottingham Forest boss once punched a young Roy Keane in the face after a particularly bad game.
We're not advocating that sort of treatment, but managers with a bit of an edge can at times frighten their players on to victory.
9. Trust of and from senior players
This ties in with psychological acumen, but it's a little different. Word on the street is that Rennie protected the likes of Mattocks from receiving a bit of tough love from some senior players.
While old pros shouldn't be allowed to bully their younger colleagues, when a whippersnapper gets out of line, a coach should be able to turn to one of his older players to do some locker room policing.
The Whitecaps squad is one of the most diverse in MLS. With a lack of many Canadian options available to sign, the club has generally opted to be more international rather than relying on American talent.
Being able to deal with players from all over and communicate effectively with players with limited English skills will be essential.