Bob Mackin - 24 Hours Vancouver
It was Teitur Tuesday as the Vancouver Whitecaps introduced the sixth head coach in club history yesterday.
Icelandic-born Teitur Thordarson succeeds Bob Lilley, whose contract wasn't renewed after the Whitecaps' first round playoff elimination in September. Under Lilley, the 9-7-12 Whitecaps scored only 27 goals in 28 games, one year after winning the USL First Division championship. Thordarson opted to keep Lilley's assistant Todd Wawrousek, who was interim coach for November's exhibition with David Beckham and the Los Angeles Galaxy.
Thordarson's mandate is to increase Vancouver's offensive output and to provide opportunities for the top talent in the Whitecaps' European-style youth residency program.
"It's much easier to bring forward good young players if the first team is a very good one," Thordarson said.
The 55-year-old native of Akranes, Iceland, helmed Knattspyrnufelag Reykjavikur to second place in Iceland's premier division and a berth in the Icelandic Cup final in 2006.
He coached 11 seasons in Norway's Tippeligaen before coaching 145th-ranked Estonia to 69th on the FIFA poll between 1996 and 1999. His career as a striker included stops in Norway, Sweden and France, where he played under current Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger.
Even Pellerud, the Norwegian coach of Canada's Vancouver-based women's national soccer team, recommended Thordarson for the Whitecaps' position.
"He said this was a very exciting job that would fit me well," Thordarson said.
- Meanwhile, the Whitecaps continue to negotiate a land swap with the federal Vancouver Port Authority as they seek a new site for the $75 million stadium proposed for the Central Waterfront by club owner Greg Kerfoot. Until that's resolved, a return to city council is on hold.