VANCOUVER, BC – In a coaching search that somewhat mirrored that of the appointment of Carl Robinson as their MLS head coach, Vancouver Whitecaps FC looked far and wide in their quest to appoint the coach of their new USL PRO side before deciding to make an appointment that was close to home in Alan Koch.
Koch has been head coach of the only Canadian team in NCAA, the Simon Fraser University Clan, for the past seven years, guiding them to the Division II Final Four in two of the three years that they were eligible to compete in the postseason.
The South African's knowledge of the college scene, coupled with his passion for the development of young players, ultimately gave Koch the edge over a number of applicants for the job from around the world, and the ‘Caps were delighted to secure someone that they see as a vital component to the club's future.
Lenarduzzi speaks to media about the hiring of Alan Koch
“It's a perfect partnership,” Whitecaps FC president Bob Lenarduzzi told reporters at the press conference to introduce their new WFC2 coach. “He knows the market. He's going to be tasked in bridging the gap between the potential of these players and how far they can go, and ideally equipping them with the knowledge that will allow a number of those young players to actually graduate through to our MLS team.”
Koch has coached in the North American collegiate system for the past 10 seasons and has built a reputation for having a keen eye for young talent and a strong scouting network. That knowledge and experience has also seen Koch acting as the college scout for Whitecaps FC this past year and he was in attendance at both the recent MLS combine and SuperDraft with the club.
Appointing Koch as the new WFC2 coach was the next logical step as far at the ‘Caps were concerned.
“As a result of the work that he did on our college recruiting, he got to know our guys and we got to know him,” Lenarduzzi added. “It was a natural evolution. We were always looking at other candidates, but as time went on, it became clear that Alan was interested in the job and we were interested in him.”
The make up of the Whitecaps USL PRO roster will mostly be from players in the 17 to 24 age range, including a plethora of local and homegrown talent. That has also been Koch's remit at SFU since 2008 and he is looking forward to the challenge of repeating his college success with WFC2.
Koch's appointment was helped by a shared eye for talent with Robinson. Both men are on the same page when it comes to the type of player they want to add to the club.
“On and off the field I think we have the same philosophies,” Koch told reporters. “Carl likes to give young players an opportunity, I firmly believe in that too. He likes to play attractive football, I like to do that too. He also places a high importance on character, as I do. It's very, very simple in football at times if you share the same philosophy, hop on the same page and go and ride that wave together.”
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