Vancouver Whitecaps FC announced on Tuesday that Vanni Sartini, current first team assistant coach, will move into a new role as director of methodology for all programs in the Whitecaps FC BMO Academy System. During the transition, Sartini will continue as a first team assistant coach for the remainder of the 2020 MLS season and a new first team assistant will be added in 2021. Earlier this morning, Major League Soccer announced a new youth development identity and brand MLS NEXT, as well as information about this season’s competition.
The club also confirmed that Craig Dalrymple will be departing his role as player development and academy recruitment director to take on a new challenge as sporting director for his local club, Ridge Meadows Soccer Club. Dalrymple will remain with the club until October 15.
“This change in our academy provides an opportunity to continue to build and grow from a very strong foundation,” said Axel Schuster, Whitecaps FC sporting director and chief executive officer. “Vanni has a tremendous background in coaching education and football development. His unique skill set is optimal for the role as director of methodology and he will help maximize the potential of our academy system from first kick to first team.
“We are very grateful to Craig for his many years of service to the club. Craig has been a part of our club for 25 years, starting as a player with the Vancouver 86ers, then as a volunteer and youth coach, and then spending the past 10 years leading the academy. On behalf of the club, I would like to thank Craig for all of his hard work as he begins this next chapter in his career.”
Sartini, who joined Whitecaps FC as first team assistant coach prior to the start of the 2019 season, will oversee the implementation of development, training and coach education philosophies used throughout the club.
A native of Florence, Italy, Sartini has been a national coach educator for both the Italian Football Federation from 2010 to 2016, and for the United States Soccer Federation from 2016 to 2018 – the latter of whom he led the U.S. Soccer Pro License Coaching Course, the federation’s highest level of coaching education. Sartini holds a UEFA Pro Licence, the highest coaching certification available.
“I have thoroughly enjoyed working in the first team environment again and as a coach educator I believe it is important to find a balance of theoretical and practical, and this new opportunity will give me a platform to grow as a coach and as a mentor of coaches,” added Sartini. “When I first joined this club, my plan was to take it one year at a time. My wife and I have since fallen in love not only with this club but this city as well. I am excited to take on this new role at a club that is focused and has a tradition in the development of young players for both our first team and Canada’s national teams. I am really looking forward to start this new journey.”
As a professional coach, 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.
Dalrymple was originally drafted by Vancouver 86ers in 1995 out of Simon Fraser University, playing until 1998. He then began coaching in the youth program and also spent time with the first team as an associate coach, eventually Dalrymple took on the role of assistant technical director in 2010 before moving into the technical director role in 2014. As the technical director, Dalrymple earned the Elite Formation Coaching License from the French Football Federation and UEFA Pro License from the English Football Association.
In 2018, he briefly oversaw the first team as interim head coach for the final five matches of the MLS season posting a record of 2-2-1, which included an away win at Toronto FC and home win against Portland Timbers. During his tenure, the club signed 23 players to MLS Homegrown contracts.
“Leading the Academy for over a decade has been an absolute privilege, for which I would like to thank the owners, management, staff and players for entrusting me,” added Dalrymple. “In the 10 years, we have seen over 75 players turn professional, including 23 MLS Homegrown signings, two of which were transferred to tier one European clubs. It fills me with pride that our current first team squad has 10 players from our Academy, six of which were selected to the 20-man squad in our last MLS win. I now look forward to my next challenge at Ridge Meadows Soccer Club as the sporting director and to continue to grow the Canadian game. Go ’Caps!”