Carl Robinson set to take over Vancouver Whitecaps coaching jobDecember 15, 2013 at 2:03 pm | Posted in Whitecaps Season 2013 | 3 Comments
Tags: Bob Lenarduzzi, Carl Robinson, major league soccer, Vancouver Whitecaps
The Vancouver Whitecaps search for a new coach to replace Martin Rennie has been a humbling exercise. While the Whitecaps and us fans see the club as the belle of the ball, it turns out we are well down the list as far as the glamorous suitors are concerned.
The Whitecaps were batting their eyes at the likes of local boy made good Frank Yallop, Real Salt Lake super-coach Jason Kreis and former US Men’s national team gaffer Bob Bradley. Yallop and Kreis found more attractive clubs to couple with, while Bob Bradley hopes to hook up with West Bromwich Albion in the English Premier League.
The Whitecaps were so confident in their charms they cast aside none other than Stuart “psycho” Pierce, England and Nottingham Forest legend and former coach of England’s under-23 side. The reason given was he had no Major League Soccer experience. The Whitecaps may live to regret this.
Frankly, we have to reassess our standing as a club in the football world. As usual, many have taken to blaming Bob Lenarduzzi and the Whitecaps management structure for everything, but other more important factors play against us. Vancouver is not really a high profile city, people see the Canadian tax system as more burdensome than the US tax system, and we are perched far away in the Pacific Northwest, away from the centre of everything. If I am Jason Kreis, why would I turn down the bright lights and unlimited resources of New York City for a provincial club of comparatively modest means? Perhaps it is best that we resign ourselves to being a small pond which attempts to develop big fish.
Media leaks now have it that Carl Robinson will be named coach of the Vancouver Whitecaps tomorrow. Robinson was seen as a dark horse, and seems to have been chosen because other high profile coaches would not agree to come here. Robinson has his coaching badges, but has never taken the reigns of a club at any level as head coach/manager. It seems an odd choice when the major knock against Rennie was his lack of experience. Robinson was the Whitecaps assistant coach to Martin Rennie for two years, and worked quietly and anonymously under his boss.
While it is difficult to assess Robinson’s performance under Martin Rennie, he has had several glowing reviews from players, notably Camilo Sanvezzo and Russell Teibert, both of whom had great years in 2013 and credited Robinson for instilling confidence in them.
Robinson knows all of the players in the Whitecaps system, which means he has a head start in his duties as head coach. Having played and coached in the MLS for some years now he will understand the league and it’s bizarre rules. Perhaps the biggest advantage Robinson has over Rennie is his extensive experience as a player at high levels of the game. While Robinson was not a top class player, he had a career to be proud of, having played many games for clubs such as Sunderland, Norwich, Wolverhampton and Portsmouth in the English Premier League, the English Championship, and the English First Division. Robinson also starred for Toronto Football Club in MLS for three seasons, and ended his career with the New York Red Bulls. He represented his home country Wales 52 times in international football. Players instinctively trust a coach who knows the game through playing it at a high level.
I always liked Robinson as a player, and I always liked the way he conducted himself in the capacity of assistant coach and reserve team coach. Although I admit I wanted a higher profile coach, I will throw my full weight (such as it is) behind him if the rumours are true and the Whitecaps announce him as head coach tomorrow.