The search is over: Whitecaps FC president Bob Lenarduzzi on why Carl Robinson is 'the right choice'

Lenarduzzi: "We felt strongly that he was the right choice"

Carl Robinson warmup

Photo Credit: 
Bob Frid/Vancouver Whitecaps FC

VANCOUVER, BC – The moment Carl Robinson applied for Vancouver Whitecaps FC’s vacant head coaching position, it was clear the popular assistant was going to be a serious candidate. 

Robinson had a lot going for him from the outset.

He had MLS experience (a total of seven years as a player and assistant coach) – something that was identified as a priority early on.

He had the players’ backing. Both Camilo and Russell Teibert spoke glowingly of the Welshman at Whitecaps FC’s final media availability in November.

And finally, according to Whitecaps FC president Bob Lenarduzzi, he had a vision.

“When he applied for the job and we sat down with him, we were impressed with his thoughts on how he could incorporate the experience he’s had as a player and as coach in MLS and his experience as international with the Welsh team into the job,” Lenarduzzi told whitecapsfc.com. “Now, he gets the chance to put it all into practice and we’re very excited about that.”

After sifting through hundreds of applications, Lenarduzzi said the club narrowed down the search to a select group of candidates who would be granted an interview – Robinson included. At that time, decorated long-time MLS coach Bob Bradley wasn’t even on the radar.

But when the former U.S. and Egypt national head coach became available and the timing matched up with Egypt’s elimination from World Cup qualifying, Lenarduzzi said it was decided that – given Bradley’s pedigree – he would be an option worth pursuing.

It’s no secret that the club had interest in Bradley, who ultimately decided to continue the chase of his European dream, but Lenarduzzi said that doesn’t take away from the club’s belief in Robinson.

“We were impressed with all of the candidates and very impressed with Carl,” said Lenarduzzi. “In the end, Carl quickly emerged as a top candidate and we felt strongly that he was the right choice.”

The ‘Caps president said Robinson has a number of qualities you look for in a head coach, many of which stem from his playing days.

Robinson has over a decade of playing experience at the top levels of England – he helped both Portsmouth FC and Sunderland AFC earn promotion to the English Premier League – in addition to five years of playing experience in MLS with Toronto FC and New York Red Bulls.  

“I remember watching him play when he was the co-captain at TFC and I was always impressed with his approach as a player,” Lenarduzzi said. “He was very vocal, didn’t mind stirring it up as far as the physical side, and from an attacking perspective you could tell that he valued possession. He has since brought all those qualities to his coaching and they are a big reason why it has been a smooth transition for him from player to coach.”

Over the past two seasons and throughout the interview stage, Lenarduzzi said he has gotten to know Robinson well as an individual and there’s no doubt that he will fit the club’s “Our all. Our honour” approach.

“Carl is a very personable, honest, outgoing, and respectful individual,” he said. “We are confident that he will be a great ambassador for this club.”

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