He joined the club on 11 December 2007 when it was a USL club and his appointment will ensure a very smooth transition as the club moves up a league.
“It is a great privilege and honour to be leading Whitecaps FC as their head coach in Major League Soccer,” said Thordarson. “Since joining the club nearly three years ago, I have been part of many fantastic experiences, both on and off the pitch. I am very much looking forward to the opportunity and challenge that comes with being the clubâ€™s inaugural head coach, as we return to the top level of professional soccer in North America.”
Arsene Wenger was among those on a short video congratulating Thordarson on his appointment. Paul Barber, the Chief Executive Officer, and Bob Lenarduzzi, Club President sat alongside Thordarson.
Lenarduzzi pointed out that having former DC coach Tom Soehn there helped provide the inside MLS knowledge that made up for the Icelander’s lack of experience in that department. Thordarson played for Wenger and Gerard Houllier in his playing career and coached at many clubs in Scandinavia and the Baltic Region before arriving in British Columbia. He is widely seen as having been a success in his two seasons in Vancouver and his style is more of a cooperative motivator of players than a coach who resorts to yelling.
His appointment completes the triumvirate of three European coaches in the Pacific Northwest with Scotland’s John Spencer being given the equivalent job in Portland and German born Sigi Schmid holding the reigns in Seattle. A former Iceland national team captain, Thordarson scored nine goals in 41 appearances for the island nation between 1972 and 1985.
There are also European coaches in New York, New England, Columbus Crew, Philadelphia Union, Houston Dynamo, Toronto FC and Colorado Rapids, making a total of ten European born coaches in MLS.
“Over the past two-and-a-half seasons, Teitur has done an outstanding job as a leader, a motivator, and a teacher,” said Lenarduzzi. “His extensive experiences as a coach and player in the top leagues in Europe have had a huge impact on our club, as a whole. Teitur has a proven history of success, while setting very high standards, both for himself and those around him.”
About Theidur Thordarson and the Whitecaps
A native of Akranes, Iceland, the 58-year-old Thordarson has enjoyed three successful seasons as Whitecaps FC head coach – having initially joined the club on December 11, 2007. In what was his first year of coaching in North American professional soccer, the former Iceland international striker led Whitecaps FC to the United Soccer Leagues First Division (USL-1) championship title following a second-place finish in the USL-1 standings with a record of 15W-7L-8D. The ‘Caps won the USL-1 Championship Final with a 2-1 victory over Puerto Rico Islanders at Swangard Stadium on October 12, 2008. Thordarson also led the men’s team to notable wins over MLS clubs Los Angeles Galaxy (international friendly) and Toronto FC (Nutrilite Canadian Championship) that season.
His second year in charge was just as eventful. After making several changes to the squad in the off-season, Thordarson’s side endured a more difficult USL-1 regular season campaign, as they claimed the league’s final playoff berth with a record of 11W-10L-9D. However, a fine playoff run saw the ‘Caps make the finals for a second straight year before falling 6-3 on aggregate to Canadian rivals Montreal Impact. It was also under Thordarson that Whitecaps FC suffered heartbreak in the 2009 Nutrilite Canadian Championship after being edged to the title by Toronto FC on goal difference.
Thordarson’s third season at the helm has been a more consistent campaign, with the ‘Caps leading the NASL Conference in the United States Soccer Federation Division-2 Professional League (USSF D-2) with a record of 9W-3L-13D. Their form defensively, and away from home, have Whitecaps FC in a strong position to challenge for the USSF D-2 title come playoff time this October. In total, Thordarson has amassed a combined record of 44W-27L-37D with Vancouver.