Whitecaps say firing coaching staff before season’s end gives them a jump on next year

Craig Dalrymple, technical director for the Whitecaps FC Academy, will serve as acting coach

The Vancouver Whitecaps say they are not giving up on this season despite firing their head coach with five games to go.

Team president Bob Lenarduzzi said Tuesday that the decision to dismiss head coach Carl Robinson and his assistants now instead of at season’s end gives the Major League Soccer club time prepare for next year.

“What we want to try to do is ensure that we give ourselves the best chance possible for a playoff spot, and then beyond that, we want to get a head start on next year,” Lenarduzzi said. “The fact we can do that now and start to look at what we are looking for in that head coach, I think is beneficial in the long haul.”

The Whitecaps, who are eighth in the MLS Western Conference with 40 points from an 11-11-7 record, sit four points behind the Seattle Sounders who hold the sixth and final playoff spot.

Vancouver plays the seventh-place L.A. Galaxy in a crucial away match Saturday.

Craig Dalrymple, technical director for the Whitecaps FC Academy, will serve as acting coach for the rest of the season.

“I’m excited about the opportunity the club has given me and thankful that they trust me,” he said.

READ MORE: Whitecaps say firing coaching staff before season’s end gives them a jump on next year

Robinson, a former Welsh international, had an MLS record of 64-59-42 and guided the Whitecaps to three playoff appearances, including two Western Conference semifinals. Vancouver also won the 2015 Canadian Championship and advanced to the semifinal of the 2016-17 CONCACAF Champions League.

Also released were assistant coaches Martyn Pert and Gordon Forest as well as goalkeeper coach Stewart Kerr.

Robinson had two years remaining on his contract but there was speculation he wouldn’t be back next year. Still, his sudden firing caught players and fans by surprise.

Whitecaps captain Kendall Waston was blunt.

“I’m not happy at all,” said the big centre back. “Personally, I don’t think it was the right moment but I’m not in charge of the club.

“I don’t agree but this is my personal opinion. It hurts a lot because I don’t think it was the proper way it happened.”

Robinson’s departure could affect Waston’s future with the team.

“Mostly I came here because of the coaches, not for the club,” said the five-year veteran. “I have a contract (for) one more year. But you never know what is going to happen at the end of the season.”

Veteran striker Kei Kamara, who just joined the Whitecaps this season, blamed himself for missed scoring chances that might have helped Robinson keep his job.

“I take it personally,” he said. “I feel responsible for part of it.

“I’ve been around. I have played on different clubs. It’s part of the business.”

Toronto FC coach Greg Vanney praised Robinson.

“I think he’s done a nice job there over the years in terms of putting teams together that have always been competitive,” said Vanney. “I wish him well. I’m sure we’ll see him again somewhere in the league.”

Lenarduzzi said the Whitecaps don’t have a replacement candidate in mind but Dalrymple will not be offered the job on a permanent basis.

“Now that the decision has been made, what we will look to do is establish what that criteria is we are looking for in a head coach,” he said. “It will be global search.”

Lenarduzzi also didn’t want to give a timeline for when a new coach could be in place.

“What we want is the right guy and give ourselves enough time to ensure we do the exploratory and investigative work we can do to give us the best chance to acquire the best person out there,” he said.

“We’d like to get it done as quickly as possible but not at the expensive of perhaps not getting the right candidate.”

One name already mentioned is Marc Dos Santos, an assistant coach with Los Angeles Football Club. The San Jose Earthquakes, who fired their head coach last week, have reportedly asked LAFC for permission to speak to Dos Santos.

Robinson spent the last five years as Vancouver’s head coach following two years as an assistant. He was amiable, often frank when dealing with the media, but could have a sharp tongue.

Part of Robinson’s role was finding talent for the team but this year he seemed to chafe under some of Vancouver’s budget restrictions.

Robinson played a role in the development of teenaged winger Alphonso Davies, who earlier this year agreed to a transfer deal with German soccer giant Bayern Munich for a record fee over US$22 million

Jim Morris, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

This Crescent Beach home, located at 12505 22 Ave., was subject of a police search warrant June 18. (Google image)
Civil Forfeiture Office alleges Crescent Beach home used to launder money

Court documents request the home, and $85,000 to be turned over to the government

Surrey firefighters battle a house fire near the 70A Avenue and 126A Street intersection early Sunday morning. According to a witness, it appears that the occupants were able to get out without injury. (Shane MacKichan photos)
PHOTOS: Fire causes extensive damage to Surrey home

Occupants able to escape without injury: witness

Preliminary results indicate a Surrey-Cloverdale win for the NDP’s Mike Starchuk. (File)
Mike Starchuk leading Marvin Hunt in Surrey Cloverdale

MAP: B.C. provincial election results for Surrey-Cloverdale

NDP headquarters on election night, Oct. 24, 2020. (Katya Slepian/Black Press Media)
ELECTION 2020: Live blog from B.C. party headquarters

BC NDP projected to win majority government – but celebrations will look different this election

B.C. Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau outlines her party's climate action platform at Nanaimo's Vancouver Island Conference Centre earlier this month. (News Bulletin file photo)
Green leader Furstenau declared victor in her home riding on Vancouver Island

Cowichan Valley voters elect freshly minted party leader for her second term

NDP Leader John Horgan celebrates his election win in the British Columbia provincial election in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan celebrates projected majority NDP government, but no deadline for $1,000 deposit

Premier-elect says majority government will allow him to tackle issues across all of B.C.

FILE – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets Premier John Horgan during a press conference at the BC Transit corporate office following an announcement about new investments to improve transit for citizens in the province while in Victoria on Thursday, July 18, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Trudeau congratulates Horgan on NDP’s election victory in British Columbia

Final count won’t be available for three weeks due to the record number of 525,000 ballots cast by mail

Comedic actor Seth Rogen, right, and business partner Evan Goldberg pose in this undated handout photo. When actor Seth Rogen was growing up and smoking cannabis in Vancouver, he recalls there was a constant cloud of shame around the substance that still lingers. Rogen is determined to change that. (Maarten de Boer ohoto)
Seth Rogen talks about fighting cannabis stigma, why pot should be as accepted as beer

‘I smoke weed all day and every day and have for 20 years’

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Provincial Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau speaks at Provincial Green Party headquarters at the Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe in Victoria. (Arnold Lim / Black Press)
VIDEO: Furstenau leads BC Greens to win first riding outside of Vancouver Island

Sonia Furstenau became leader of BC Greens one week before snap election was called

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

NDP Leader John Horgan elbow bumps NDP candidate Coquitlam-Burke Mountain candidate Fin Donnelly following a seniors round table in Coquitlam, B.C., Tuesday, October 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan, NDP head for majority in B.C. election results

Record number of mail-in ballots may shift results

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Mounties looking for teen boy ‘unlawfully at large’ from Riverview psychiatric hospital

Nolan Godron left the hospital, located at 2721 Lougheed Highway in Coquitlam, without consent on Saturday

The Canadian border is pictured at the Peace Arch Canada/USA border crossing in Surrey, B.C. Friday, March 20, 2020. More than 4.6 million people have arrived in Canada since the border closed last March and fewer than one-quarter of them were ordered to quarantine while the rest were deemed “essential” and exempted from quarantining. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Majority of international travellers since March deemed ‘essential’, avoid quarantine

As of Oct. 20, 3.5 million travellers had been deemed essential, and another 1.1 million were considered non-essential

Most Read