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Whitecaps name former TFC player Robinson as new coach

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The Canadian Press
12/16/2013 4:58:45 PM
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VANCOUVER - Carl Robinson is the new head coach of the Vancouver Whitecaps.

The 37-year-old Welshman takes over after spending the last two seasons as an assistant with the Major League Soccer club.

"It's a very proud moment for me to be here today," Robinson said at his introductory press conference. "It's something that I have always dreamed of doing and it's the natural progression for me in my career."

Robinson replaces Martin Rennie, who was fired in October after Vancouver failed to make the playoffs.

The Whitecaps' fourth coach since the club joined MLS in 2011, Robinson will have full autonomy over personnel decisions.

"It's a task I'm looking forward to. I know I'm going to face this challenge head on," said Robinson. "There will be hard work along the way, but I'm up for that challenge."

The Whitecaps made the playoffs with Rennie at the helm in 2012, but stumbled down the stretch this past season.

Vancouver also failed to win the Amway Canadian Championship, which the club has put an emphasis on because it means a berth in the CONCACAF Champions League.

After Rennie was shown the door, club president Bob Lenarduzzi said MLS experience would be an important trait for his successor.

Robinson has that, although not as a head coach.

As a player, the bruising midfielder started his career in England before spending three seasons with Toronto FC and one campaign with the New York Red Bulls.

"When you watched him as a player, he was a leader on the field," said Lenarduzzi. "He was constantly communicating, constantly encouraging his players. To me, what that will do is ideally translate through to his next task of being a head coach."

Robinson, who played 52 times for his country, made 86 MLS appearances and was twice named TFC's most valuable player.

"His vision aligns with ours as a club. He's committed to youth development," said Lenarduzzi. "We have a like-minded philosophy in terms of attempting to play entertaining and attacking soccer."

Lenarduzzi confirmed that former U.S. and Egyptian national team coach Bob Bradley, who was rumoured to be in the running for the job, spent a weekend in Vancouver during the interview process but decided to pursue other options in Europe.

Lenarduzzi said Robinson and all of the other candidates were kept appraised of the situation while the Whitecaps explored the "unique opportunity" to speak with Bradley.

"As far as the coach search taking longer than we would have anticipated, if Bob Bradley doesn't come up then more than likely it would have been done sooner," said Lenarduzzi. "But for us not to pursue that I think would have been wrong on our part."

Carl Robinson (Photo: Mike Stobe/Getty Images for New York Red Bulls)

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(Photo: Mike Stobe/Getty Images for New York Red Bulls)
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