VANCOUVER, B.C. – With all the announcements and the media rounds out of the way, it's time for new Vancouver Whitecaps head coach Marc Dos Santos to get down to work.
If the chaos of last week's dramatic end-of-season press conferences showed Dos Santos anything, it's that he's coming to a club with a captain, Kendall Waston, who wants to leave, a top goalscorer, Kei Kamara, who is unsure of his future, and a locker room that may or may not be divided, depending on which player you ask.
While that may all sound like a daunting number of initial issues to deal with, Dos Santos is unfazed by it all, and can't wait to get started shaping the Whitecaps in his style.
"I just want to start working," Dos Santos told reporters on Tuesday. "For me, the important part is to look at the roster, to start building, to be on the field with the players, to start developing a relationship with them. And I can't wait to start."
At the top of Dos Santos' to-do list is to appoint his coaching staff and then work out which current Whitecaps he wants to keep, which ones he'll be able to keep, and where new additions will need to be made.
The 'Caps have 10 players signed for 2019, with options on a number of others. Dos Santos is very familiar with all of the current roster, from his scouting capacity as assistant coach at LAFC, and he's already well aware of where the Whitecaps need strengthening if they are to be MLS Cup contenders next season.
"We'll be evaluating the roster, and we've already started doing that," Dos Santos said. "See the players that are in, see the players that are going to stay or not. Looking at what are going to be the most important needs, then start that recruitment process."
While the Whitecaps missed the playoffs for the second time in three seasons, they did so by just one win, an indicator to Dos Santos that the club have a good, solid core to build around.
Supporters shouldn't expect to see him completely blow up this team, but at the same time, they should expect to see a number of new faces and a new direction for attracting them to Vancouver.
"To win games you need to recruit very well," Dos Santos mused. "It's something we want to change and better in the club. We want to build a scouting department. We want to make sure that there's a line that guides every decision we take around the models of play and around the behaviors of play. It's always a challenge to recruit players everywhere in the world.
"I see it as a good challenge. There's a roster you could build, but at the same time you don't want to rebuild everything. You have to make sure that if we let a player go then we're going to replace him with a player as good or better, and normally it should be better. "
The Whitecaps relied heavily on Central and South American players during Carl Robinson's five-year tenure at the club. That's not a path Dos Santos was ruling out, but he made it clear that he plans to cast his net much further and much wider, and his search is already well underway.
"I'm going towards good players,' Dos Santos stated. "So if it's from South Korea, Japan, Portugal, Italy, South or Central America, this club's going to look for the best players possible."