July 24th, 2024

Whitecaps sign coach Sartini to two-year contract extension

By Jim Morris, The Canadian Press on October 21, 2023.

Vancouver Whitecaps coach Vanni Sartini, left, greets Seattle Sounders coach Brian Schmetzer before an MLS soccer match Saturday, Oct. 7, 2023, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Lindsey Wasson)

VANCOUVER – The Vancouver Whitecaps have signed head coach Vanni Sartini to a two-year contract extension through 2025, the Major League Soccer team said Saturday.

Sartini has a 38-21-27 record across all competitions since taking over the Whitecaps coaching duties from Marc Dos Santos in August 2021. The 46-year-old native of Florence, Italy, has led Vancouver to back-to-back Canadian Championships and the team qualified for the 2021 and 2023 MLS playoffs.

“I am happy, actually ecstatic, to extend my contract with Whitecaps FC,” Sartini said in a statement.

“The team has developed and grown a lot over the last two seasons. I am convinced we are trending towards even more great achievements and special nights.”

The announcement was made in front of a crowd of 24,000 as the Whitecaps play their final regular-season match of the season against LAFC.

By winning the Canadian Championship twice, the Whitecaps secured qualification for the 2023 CONCACAF Champions League and the 2024 CONCACAF Champions Cup. Sartini also managed the Whitecaps to the Round of 32 of the Leagues Cup and clinched the club’s seventh Cascadia Cup title earlier this season.

“Vanni’s dedication and passion has shown he can take this club to new heights,” said Axel Schuster, the Whitecaps sporting director. “He has successfully implemented a strong philosophy and style of play with the team as the leader.

“Not only has Vanni made an impact in the locker room and on the pitch, but he also continues to energize our club with his enthusiastic personality.”

Under Sartini, the Whitecaps had posted a home record of 28-9-12 across all competitions entering Saturday’s match against visiting Los Angeles FC. This year Vancouver has scored a scored a club-record 75 goals across all competitions.

First named an interim coach, Sartini took over the job permanently in November 2021. He originally arrived in Vancouver as a first team assistant coach before the start of the 2019 MLS season.

Following two years as an assistant, Sartini’s role evolved to lead the club’s academy program as the director of methodology and U-23’s head coach. Sartini oversaw the implementation of development, training and coach education philosophies used throughout the club.

Before joining the Whitecaps, Sartini was head coach of A.S. Mezzana for three seasons, an assistant coach with A.S. Livorno Calcio – whom he helped earn promotion to Serie A – and an assistant coach with S.S.C. Bari. He later worked in opposition analysis for the Italian youth national teams at the U-17, U-19 and U-21 levels, and was a coach educator for both the Italian Football Federation and U.S. Soccer.

Besides English, Sartini is fluent in Italian, Spanish and Japanese.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 21, 2023.

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