BRITISH COLUMBIA

Whitecaps re-sign head coach Carl Robinson, staff, to multi-year extensions

01/18/2015 03:48 EST | Updated 03/20/2015 05:59 EDT
VANCOUVER - Carl Robinson impressed in his first season as head coach of the Vancouver Whitecaps, but he's ready for more in 2015 and beyond.

Robinson and his coaching staff signed multi-year contract extensions with the Vancouver Whitecaps on Sunday, with the Wales international saying that although he was pleased with his first season as a manager, he wants to lead the team to even greater heights.

"I'll be even more determined to work even harder next year because I think we can get even better than we were last year," said Robinson.

That's saying something, as Robinson led Vancouver to arguably its best-ever season in 2014.

Under his guidance the Whitecaps reached the MLS Cup playoffs and hit the 50 point-mark — the club’s highest-ever point total in Major League Soccer and the most ever by a Canadian MLS club. The team also won the Cascadia Cup and qualified for the CONCACAF Champions League for the first time in club history.

"In just one year, Carl and his staff have done an exceptional job in establishing a foundation, bringing in quality players and people, and taking this team to the next level," said Whitecaps president Bob Lenarduzzi in a statement.

"They are all highly respected not only within our club, but also around the league and the soccer world. We are confident that their eye for talent, dedication and hard work will continue to yield positive results."

Assistant coaches Martyn Pert and Gordon Forrest, and goalkeeper coach Marius Rovde also agreed to contract extensions with Vancouver. Robinson sees these deals as an opportunity to further push and challenge his players.

"Just because I end up signing a multi-year deal doesn't mean that my foot comes off the gas," said Robinson. "I'll actually be putting more pressure on the players now because we put a foundation in place which I think was pretty successful. But I don't want to be pretty successful, I want to be very successful.

"The hard work starts now."

The 38-year-old Robinson was named Whitecaps head coach December 2013 after two years as an assistant. Robinson began his coaching career as a player/assistant coach in his second and final season with New York Red Bulls. Robinson also played three seasons with Toronto FC, where he served as the co-captain from 2007 to 2009, and was twice named the club's most valuable player.

Robinson knows that although he's seen a lot of success in Vancouver, he and his staff must continue to evolve to keep the Whitecaps competitive.

"I'm not naive enough to think that there's not areas I need to improve on, that me and my coaches need to get better on, because players expect that," said Robinson. "That certainly will happen this year. There'll be more demands put on them.

"We'll continue to have a learning environment, a constructive environment, for these players to progress as well. ... It's important we grow together."

The terms of the deals were not disclosed, as per club policy.

When asked if the contract takes Robinson through his three-year plan or his five-year plan — an attempt by a reporter to find out the length of the deals — the Whitecaps manager laughed and said "It'll take me past the next year, I'll give you that."