Vancouver Whitecaps FC signaled a reorganization of their leadership structure on Friday, announcing that the club has begun “an extensive global search” to hire a sporting director, while eliminating their president position and transitioning the longtime holder of that post, club legend Bob Lenarduzzi, into a new role as club liaison.
“These are exciting times in MLS with the league growing at an unprecedented rate both on and off the pitch,” said Whitecaps co-owner Jeff Mallett in a club release. “We are committed to taking the 'Caps to the next level, to being championship contenders. We’ve invested heavily in our soccer operations, from facilities to coast-to-coast soccer programming for boys and girls. Bringing in a sporting director is the next step to take the club forward.”
The person selected for Vancouver’s new sporting director post will “lead the technical direction of the club at all levels” and report directly to ownership. In the words of the Whitecaps’ announcement, that hire “will be a proven leader who brings exceptional soccer expertise to the club,” with “a vast understanding and knowledge of scouting and recruitment in the global market” and the ability to “maximize the advantages of a sport performance model, and embrace youth development.”
For Lenarduzzi, a Vancouver native, longtime Canada international and Canadian Soccer Hall of Famer who starred on the iconic 1979 NASL Whitecaps' championship side that galvanized pro soccer in the city, the news marks a new chapter.
The sporting director will report to ownership, eliminating the role of president from the club structure.— Vancouver Whitecaps FC (@WhitecapsFC) August 16, 2019
“Whitecaps FC would not be Whitecaps FC without Bob Lenarduzzi,” noted Mallett. “His knowledge, relationships, and history with this club is unparalleled and will be invaluable as we enter our next chapter.”
Lenarduzzi will “work closely with ownership and club executives to represent the club locally, nationally, and internationally” in his new role.
“For me, I’m incredibly passionate about representing this club and brand here at home,” he said in the release. “With the league growing the way it is, now is the right time to inject new leadership into the soccer side of our organization. I am proud to have been with the club every step of the way, and I’m very excited to continue working with our partners at home and abroad as we look toward to the biggest milestone in Canada’s soccer history in 2026.”
VWFC have endured a rough year under first-year head coach Marc Dos Santos, suffering six- and nine-game winless skids in league play and crashing out of the Canadian Championship at the hands of Calvary FC. They currently sit last in the Western Conference with 24 points from 26 games.