The club announced Monday that it had hired Carl Robinson as its head coach, ending a search to replace former bench boss Martin Rennie. Robinson had served as an assistant under Rennie for the 2012 and 2013 seasons, and his hiring gives the Whitecaps continuity in management going forward.
“We are thrilled to announce Carl Robinson as our new head coach,” Whitecaps president Bob Lenarduzzi said in a statement. “During his time with the club, Carl has shown the qualities you look for in a successful head coach – a strong leader, great communicator with both youth and experienced players, high soccer IQ, technical and tactical intelligence, and a great work ethic.
"We are confident that Carl is a coach who will bring out the best in his players and help our club achieve success this season and beyond."
A 37-year-old former Welsh international, Robinson was reported as a candidate to replace Rennie ever since the Scotsman was relieved of his duty by Vancouver on Oct. 29. Robinson wasn't the only name attached with the position, however, with former U.S. and Egypt coach Bob Bradley leading a list of candidates that also included the likes of newly named New York City FC boss Jason Kreis, two-time MLS Cup winner Frank Yallop and former Toronto FC coach Preki.
In the end, Robinson was ultimately named the man to lead the 'Caps. His rookie campaign as a head coach begins immediately, with Vancouver looking to rebound from a disappointing season that saw the side miss out on the MLS postseason by just three points.
“I have thoroughly enjoyed my first two seasons in Vancouver, and am looking forward to the start of the 2014 season,” Robinson said. “We have an exceptional fan base, a solid core of youth and experience, and a committed ownership group. I’m really excited about the opportunity to drive this club forward.”
Robinson played for 16 years, primarily as a defensive midfielder. His playing career started in 1995 at Wolverhampton Wanderers, and he made stops at Portsmouth, Sunderland and Norwich City before moving across the Atlantic to join then-expansion side TFC in 2007. He spent three full seasons in southern Ontario before moving to the New York Red Bulls in 2010, where he began his transition into management by serving as a player-coach under Hans Backe.