Vancouver Whitecaps sign Vanni Sartini to contract extension

Vanni Sartini - Vancouver Whitecaps

Vancouver Whitecaps FC have signed head coach Vanni Sartini to a two-year contract extension through the 2025 MLS season, the club announced Saturday evening before their Decision Day matchup vs. LAFC.

Sartini has guided Vancouver to the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs in two of the past three seasons (2021, ‘23) since taking over the first team. He’s also led them to back-to-back Canadian Championship titles (2022, ‘23), which sent them into next year’s Concacaf Champions Cup.

“We are thrilled to officially announce in front of our amazing fans that we have reached an agreement with Vanni to extend his contract,” said Axel Schuster, Whitecaps FC sporting director. “Vanni’s dedication and passion has shown he can take this club to new heights. He has successfully implemented a strong philosophy and style of play with the team as the leader.

“Not only has Vanni made an impact in the locker room and on the pitch, but he also continues to energize our club with his enthusiastic personality. He has embraced Vancouver and built strong relationships with our supporters, as well as our staff. We are very pleased to have Vanni as our coach as we look to continue to win trophies and make history.”

Under Sartini, Vancouver have compiled a 38W-31L-27D record across all competitions since the Italian took over as interim head coach in August 2021, averaging the highest goals scored per game in the club’s MLS history with 1.5.

The Italian, who was permanently named head coach in November 2021, originally arrived in Vancouver as a first-team assistant coach before the start of the 2019 MLS season. Following two years as an assistant, Sartini's role evolved to lead the club's academy program as the director of methodology and U-23's head coach.

“I am happy, actually ecstatic, to extend my contract with Whitecaps FC,” added Sartini. “Vancouver has become home for me and my wife, and we are very excited to continue to live in this fantastic city.

“Since the day of my interim appointment, through the two years as head coach, the fans have been amazing both in memorable nights like our two Canadian Championships or the wins against our Cascadia rivals, and at the same time always behind the team and myself in every moment of difficulty. The team has developed and grown a lot over the last two seasons, and I am convinced we are trending towards even more great achievements and special nights. Andiamo!”

Prior to joining Vancouver, Sartini was head coach of AS Mezzana for three seasons, an assistant coach with AS Livorno Calcio – whom he helped earn promotion to Serie A – and an assistant coach with SSC Bari. He later worked in opposition analysis for the Italian youth national teams at the U-17, U-19, and U-21 levels, and was a coach educator for both the Italian Football Federation and U.S. Soccer.

Sartini holds a UEFA Pro Licence, the highest coaching certification available, and is fluent in Italian, English, Spanish, and Japanese.