Vanni Sartini Vancouver Whitecaps

Vancouver Whitecaps FC have named Vanni Sartini as head coach, the club announced Tuesday. Sartini signed a contract through the 2023 season.

Sartini was Vancouver's interim head coach for the second half of 2021, leading the club to a 7W-2L-5D record, second-best in the Western Conference over that timeframe. That produced an improbable charge up the standings to reach the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2017.

“We are thrilled to officially remove the interim tag and announce Vanni as our MLS head coach," sporting director Axel Schuster said in a club release. "He truly loves the game, this club and this city. After the midseason change, Vanni has proven that he has a strong tactical understanding of what is required to succeed, as well as clear vision and style of play.

"His passion and enthusiasm have energized our club and community. Together, with Vanni and his staff in 2022, we want to make the next steps in our development and have more exciting moments together with our fans at BC Place.”

Sartini originally joined the Whitecaps in 2019 as an assistant coach, before becoming their academy's director of methodology and U-23 head coach. He holds a UEFA Pro Licence, the highest coaching certification available, and is fluent in Italian, English, Spanish and learning Japanese. Prior to his MLS tenure, the Italian native was head coach of A.S. Mezzana for three seasons, an assistant coach with A.S. Livorno Calcio and an assistant coach with S.S.C. Bari. He also worked for the Italian youth national teams.

“These last three months have completely changed my life,” said Sartini. “When the club gave me the chance to be the head coach in August, I didn't know how long I was going to last but I knew that I had to give everything and make the most of the opportunity.

"I am fortunate to be surrounded by a great team and I'm so honored, but also so excited, to help grow this club and continue this journey. Everyone now knows we are a good team, there are certain standards that need to be met, and the best is yet to come.”

The same coaching staff will remain under Sartini: assistant coaches Ricardo Clark and Michael D’Agostino, goalkeeper coach Youssef Dahha, as well as first team support staff of Jon Poli, Luke Summers and Andrew Foster.