Our Vancouver Whitecaps FC are in good hands with Teitur Thordarson at the helm. Most of the time, teams take on characteristics of their coach, and this is certainly the case with Teitur and the 'Caps.
In the time I have got to know Teitur, he is a quiet man who is very competitive in everything he does. I believe teams in Major League Soccer are not going to enjoy playing against a Whitecaps FC team coached by this former Iceland international striker. His "in your face, high tempo, high pressure" style of play is designed to make life difficult for the opponent.
On the Vancouver's two preseason trips to Arizona, I got to know all of the players a lot more, and from conversations and actions on the pitch, you can see and feel the respect and admiration they have for Teitur. The players have certainly bought into his way of playing and it has really shown in how quickly the team has come together in preseason.
There are many experienced coaches in MLS that have coached all over the world, as well as coaches that will experience the league for the first time this year. These characters will define how their respective teams play, so let's take a look at some of the challenges facing Thordarson.
As Teitur looks forward to his first MLS season with Whitecaps FC, he will not be the only rookie coach to be treading new ground. In fact, there are three other coaches that will be embarking on their first MLS seasons in 2011. John Spencer with Portland Timbers, Aron Winter with Toronto FC, and Robin Fraser with Chivas USA.
Bruce Arena (USA), Carlos de los Cobos (El Salvador), Frank Yallop (Canada), and our own Thordarson (Estonia) have all experienced coaching at the international level. We also have coaches that are two-time winners of the MLS Cup in Sigi Schmid (Seattle Sounders FC), Frank Yallop (San Jose Earthquakes), Dominic Kinnear (Houston Dynamo), and Bruce Arena (LA Galaxy).
Jason Kreis became the youngest coach in MLS history when he took over the reins at Real Salt Lake in 2007. He also became the youngest coach to win an MLS Cup championship when RSL beat the Galaxy in 2009. Steve Nicol has been to the MLS Cup final on four occasions with New England Revolution. Yet, each time, the Revs have finished runners-up and have never managed to score a single goal in regulation time. Last season, Englishman Gary Smith became the latest coach to experience the thrill of winning an MLS Cup title as head coach of Colorado Rapids.
As we all near 'MLS First Kick', I encourage all of our fans to support Teitur, his experienced coaching staff, and the players to new heights as the 17th team in MLS.
2011 MLS HEAD COACHES LIST
Chicago Fire: Carlos de los Cobos
Columbus Crew: Robert Warzycha
D.C. United: Ben Olsen
Houston Dynamo: Dominic Kinnear
Sporting Kansas City: Peter Vermes
New England Revolution: Steve Nicol
New York Red Bulls: Hans Backe
Philadelphia Union: Peter Nowak
Toronto FC: Aron Winter
Chivas USA: Robin Fraser
Colorado Rapids: Gary Smith
FC Dallas: Schellas Hyndman
LA Galaxy: Bruce Arena
Portland Timbers: John Spencer
Real Salt Lake: Jason Kreis
San Jose Earthquakes: Frank Yallop
Seattle Sounders FC: Sigi Schmid
Vancouver Whitecaps FC: Teitur Thordarson