Atop the Vancouver Lookout at Harbour Centre on Tuesday morning, Vancouver Whitecaps FC unveiled their new men’s team head coach in Teitur Thordarson.
The former Iceland international striker was introduced to the local media by Whitecaps president Bob Lenarduzzi after agreeing to a two-year contract with the club.
The former Estonian national team manager expressed his excitement at his new role and the work that lies ahead with the men’s team for the 2008 season.
A number of Whitecaps players and coaching staff were on hand at Tuesday’s press conference and they gave their thoughts to whitecapsfc.com on the club’s new coaching arrival from Europe.
Whitecaps men’s assistant coach Todd Wawrousek
“This is another stage for me that I’m very excited about. I’ve never had the opportunity to work collaboratively with a coach that has experience in the European arena, so for me, I’m quite fascinated by the prospect of moving forward with Teitur and developing the talent that we have.
“I’m very impressed with his vision and his approach to utilize the core of experienced players, as well as develop young players to complement that. I think it fits in almost perfectly with the model that we have established here at the club.
“I’ve always been one that has approached the game of being an education and as a platform to enhance my experience and my knowledge of working with talent. It will be different and I embrace that change, so I will be approaching it with a lot of enthusiasm.
“I know Teitur is anxious to get going with things and I know he’s used to training a team on a year-round basis. That brings in a number of variables that we have to adjust to, and it is certainly a direction that the club would like to go towards. From his vantage point, he would like to increase the program from six to eight months and develop the resources we have here to make the first team the best team that we possibly can to compete in the league. I think the league scheduling will be radically different for him, so training and preparation will have to be balanced with appropriate rest during the season.
“He is a coach who likes to attack with appropriate numbers and with flank play. He is an advocate of 4-4-2 and that to me is something that I embrace with great enthusiasm, as I always like working with attacking schemes. Through some small degree, I hope to contribute to that.”
Whitecaps captain Jeff Clarke
“Having read his biography and seen what he has said in the press conference, his greatest attribute is his experience and ambition with the youth side of the club. I don’t think his barometer should just be his work with the first team, I think it should be more to what he can do to make the club better from the bottom to the top.
“I think Teitur is going to bring a different style and different structure to the team. I’m also firmly entrenched in the coaching side of the game as well, so I’m looking forward to the tutelage he can provide me as well.
“USL-1 will be a big learning curve for him, I’m sure. It’s a very unique league set-up and one that a lot of people who are new to it need time to grasp. The workload that is put on the players with multiple games per week and the long travel that is involved during the season could be an eye opener. There are a lot of factors that go into a season, but the good teams in the league deal with them. I think will be there in he end, but we’ll have to help him get his feet wet.”
Whitecaps midfielder Martin Nash
“The club has gone out and got someone very experienced, and with a different background than we’ve typically had. It’s great because it will be a good learning experience for the players that are here.
“Through video analysis, I’m sure he’s going to get himself up-to-date with our team and some of the games we had from this year, as well as look at USL-1 and get a feel for it. He is experienced, so I won’t think it will be much of a learning curve for him.
“It’s good to have an attack-minded coach, who has the idea to get forward as a team. With his expertise, we will hopefully be a team that is going to score a lot of goals.”
Whitecaps Boys Prospects head coach Bart Choufour
“I’m very excited about Teitur coming on as head coach. When he was here a couple of weeks ago, I spent quite a bit of time with him and he also did a training session with the residency boys. He’s obviously very keen to have involvement with our youth structure and to have spots available for the youth players in the first team, so I think that bodes very well for our club. He brings a lot of European experience and I think that will help us all in what we are doing at all levels.
“I still think back to last month’s friendly game with LA Galaxy and when Jason Jordan came on as a substitute in that game. People got excited to see a local player appear in such a game, so the more we get those kind of players through to the men’s team, the more exciting it will be for the club.”
Whitecaps Residency managing director/head coach Thomas Niendorf
“Personally, I’m very pleased about Teitur’s commitment to the club and that he will be involved in the overall strategy of developing players as well. He has clearly indicated to me that he will have young players involved at all times in the training process of the men’s team. That will allow us to mentor our younger players better and more progressively, as we will have a direct link between the men’s team and the residency program, which I’m very excited about.
“Both Teitur and I have gone through the European coaching education system, so we relate very much to the same approach in how to play the game. I feel there will be a lot of similarities between us and we will have a chance in our residency program to really address the true standards of professional soccer by carrying that forward with Teitur’s work with the men’s team.”