VANCOUVER, B.C. -- Carl Robinson wasn't the Vancouver Whitecaps' first choice to become the club's next head coach, but he's still a very good hire.
That was the message from club president Bob Lenarduzzi on Monday, after the 'Caps named the 37-year-old Welshman as Martin Rennie's successor after a lengthy and thorough coaching search.
On Monday, it became clear that Robinson, who comes to the job after three years as an MLS assistant – first with the New York Red Bulls before the last two years in Vancouver serving as Rennie's right-hand man – was the beneficiary of a certain high-profile American taking a pass on the gig.
For the first time, Lenarduzzi publicly discussed the club's much gossiped over courtship of former United States and Egpyt manager Bob Bradley, stating the MLS Cup-winning New Jersey native actually came to Vancouver for discussions before ultimately deciding to pursue a European job.
“I would challenge anyone that suggests that [Robinson not being the No. 1 choice will put pressure on him] to be a part of the coach search process,” Lenarduzzi told reporters on Monday. “If a Bob Bradley comes up ... through your selection process and he expresses an interest, and he takes the time to come here, why would you not investigate that fully?”
When asked about the fact the club seemed to zero in on Bradley, Robinson opted to take it as a compliment that his name was in the discussion alongside the likes of a coach who has managed at a World Cup.
- Get more Vancouver Whitecaps news at WhitecapsFC.com
“It's been a long process,” Robinson said. “It's been a very, very valuable process for me. I'm a young coach and I'm learning. What the procedure has allowed us to do is to get to know each other a lot better ... I was actually privileged to be in contention with people like Bob Bradley and the other candidates.
“I take that as a positive that the club see me in that esteem, and thankfully I'm the one that's sat here today in charge of making the all the decisions, and I take that as a positive.”
Martin MacMahon covers the Vancouver Whitecaps for MLSsoccer.com.