Canada

Lenarduzzi out as Whitecaps president as club seeks sporting director

Lenarduzzi out as Whitecaps president as club seeks sporting director

The Vancouver Whitecaps FC has announced it's eliminating the role of president and creating a new role of sporting director, moving incumbent Bob Lenarduzzi to a different position with the club.

Lenarduzzi will transition to the new role of club liaison, the MLS club said in a statement released Friday morning.

The Whitecaps say they are beginning a global search for a sporting director, who will lead the technical direction of the club.

An official announcement is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. PT, which CBC will stream live.

"We are committed to taking the 'Caps to the next level, to being championship contenders. We've invested heavily in our soccer operations, from facilities to coast-to-coast soccer programming for boys and girls," Jeff Mallett, Whitecaps FC co-owner said in the statement.

"Bringing in a sporting director is the next step to take the club forward."

Whitecaps midfielder Andy Rose (left) battles LAFC forward Carlos Vela for the ball during a game in June that Vancouver lost 6-1. The Whitecaps currently sit in last place in the Western Conference. (Alex Gallardo/Associated Press)

Lenarduzzi has been with the Whitecaps for 45 years, as a player, coach and executive.

"Whitecaps FC would not be Whitecaps FC without Bob Lenarduzzi," said Mallett. "His knowledge, relationships, and history with this club is unparalleled and will be invaluable as we enter our next chapter."

However, he has recently come under fire for reasons on and off the field.

The Whitecaps haven't appeared in the MLS playoffs since 2017, and currently sit in last place in the Western Conference.

There was also criticism about the way the club dealt with an alleged abuse scandal with a Whitecaps women's team.

"For me, I'm incredibly passionate about representing this club and brand here at home," said Lenarduzzi in the release.

"With the league growing the way it is, now is the right time to inject new leadership into the soccer side of our organization."