The Vancouver Whitecaps named Vanni Sartini as head coach, promoting the interim manager to permanent status. Sartini signed a contract through the 2023 season, the club announced Tuesday.
Sartini took on the role of head coach to replace Marc Dos Santos after his midseason departure in late August. Since then, the interim leader inspired the club to a 7W-2L-5D record, second-best in the Western Conference over that timeframe.
His tactics inspired the Vancouver Whitecaps to defy the odds and charge up the standings to reach the MLS Cup playoffs for the first time since 2017.
The team has since been eliminated after losing 3-1 to Sporting Kansas City in the round one match.
“We are thrilled to officially remove the interim tag and announce Vanni as our MLS head coach," sporting director Axel Schuster said in a club release. "He truly loves the game, this club and this city. After the midseason change, Vanni has proven that he has a strong tactical understanding of what is required to succeed, as well as clear vision and style of play.
"His passion and enthusiasm have energized our club and community. Together, with Vanni and his staff in 2022, we want to make the next steps in our development and have more exciting moments together with our fans at BC Place.”
The new head coach originally joined the Canadian MLS side in 2019 as an assistant coach before taking on the role of academy director of methodology and Under-23 head coach. Prior to kicking off a Major League Soccer journey, the Italian native was head coach of Mezzana for three seasons, an assistant coach with Livorno and an assistant coach with Bari.
“These last three months have completely changed my life,” said Sartini. “When the club gave me the chance to be the head coach in August, I didn't know how long I was going to last but I knew that I had to give everything and make the most of the opportunity.
"I am fortunate to be surrounded by a great team and I'm so honored, but also so excited, to help grow this club and continue this journey. Everyone now knows we are a good team, there are certain standards that need to be met, and the best is yet to come.”