How to succeed in soccer in Vancouver
So, you want your team to win in soccer.
Well, it is a very simple solution really to such a complex problem. Just hire yourself a Scottish manager.
It has worked extremely well for English Premier League stalwarts such as Everton, Liverpool and Manchester United who respectively employ David Moyes, the legendary Kenny Dalglish and the imperious Alex Ferguson as their managers.
Three have had great success and it appears that the Vancouver Whitecaps are attempting to steal a page from the manuals of those teams.
Vancouver fired its Icelandic coach Teitur Thordarson not long after a tepid start and the interim choice was Tom Soehn from the upstairs office (though he did have some considerable coaching experience).
However, it was always public knowledge that the Whitecaps were looking out for a more permanent replacement.
That decision resulted in the appointment of Scot Martin Rennie. He is an ex-player whose career was cut short by injury in his early 20s.
Not one to let the grass (or realistic artificial turf) grow under his feet, Rennie went out and became one of the youngest ever recipients of the UEFA ‘A’ coaching license.
He put the credentials to good use achieving notable success at various levels of soccer in North America.
Rennie coached the Cascade Surge of the lower tier Premier Development League (PDL) to a North West Division title and the PDL Championship final match, then took the Cleveland City Stars to a USL-2 title in 2008, and eventually went on to the Carolina RailHawks where he managed a USL-1/ NASL league title and a trip to the Championship final.
Clearly, Martin Rennie has built up an impressive resume.
Will the new Vancouver boss be able to replicate these achievements at the top level?
There are five considerations he will need to act on to ensure that he continues this remarkable chain of accomplishment to date.
Rennie is renowned for his integration of psychological, tactical and physical training techniques to hone a success oriented philosophy.
He must work keenly to bring his new wards on board with this unified approach.
2. Call Ups
The Scot has opted to bring up some of his protégés from Carolina to join the Vancouver squad. However, it is vital that he monitor this carefully, because it is a huge leap from the USL to MLS, and he must be mindful that if some of those players struggle at this level, they must be dropped.
3. Home Cookin
The ‘Caps were dreadful on the road, and must venture to specifically focus on adapting their approach to play away from the friendly confines of BC Place.
Rennie should resist the urge to tinker too much with the forward play which was a strength of the team last season and an immense point of appeal for the supporters.
Better use of possession will ensure that that the strikers receive a steady supply of balls for the continued use of their creative talents.
5. Back 4
A solid back four needs to be identified and used as the basis for defence. Rennie’s teams to date have excelled at preserving a watertight line, and the establishment of a regular unit would enable them to build a confidence and chemistry, while also avoiding the rotating door approach of the Whitecaps this past year.
The Vancouver Whitecaps management appears to have knocked it out of the park with their choice of an upcoming coach, who is intimately familiar with the North American game.
Hopefully, the west coast is about to see the inauguration of Alex Ferguson version 2.0.