For 2011, everything will be new for the Vancouver Whitecaps. Well, almost everything.
On Thursday, the club announced that current head coach Teitur Thordarson will remain in charge when they make the leap from the USSF D-2 to MLS in 2011.
"Over the past two-and-a-half seasons, Teitur has done an outstanding job as a leader, a motivator, and a teacher," Whitecaps president Bob Lenarduzzi said in a statement. "His extensive experiences as a coach and player in the top leagues in Europe have had a huge impact on our club, as a whole. Teitur has a proven history of success, while setting very high standards, both for himself and those around him."
A 58-year-old native of Iceland, Thordarson has had great success since taking the club’s reins ahead of the 2008 season. He has a 44-27-37 record as coach of the Whitecaps.
In his first year, the former Iceland international led the Whitecaps to the USL-1 championship. The club nearly repeated in his second season, reaching the USL-1 final before falling to the Montreal Impact.
This season, he has the Whitecaps in first place in the USSF D-2’s NASL division, with a 9-3-13 record.
“Since joining the club nearly three years ago, I have been part of many fantastic experiences, both on and off the pitch,” Thordarson said. “I am very much looking forward to the opportunity and challenge that comes with being the club’s inaugural head coach, as we return to the top level of professional soccer in North America.”
Vancouver’s hiring of Thordarson breaks from the pattern set up by their Pacific Northwest rivals, the Seattle Sounders and the Portland Timbers, both of whom opted for new coaches when they rose from the second division to MLS. The Sounders hired Sigi Schmid when they joined the league in 2009, and the Timbers named Jon Spencer as their coach when they join in 2011.