Whitecaps' Lenarduzzi Out As Team President In Front-Office Restructure
The Whitecaps are "eliminating the role of president" in a restructured front office, with Bob Lenarduzzi leaving his longtime position but remaining with the MLS team as a "club liaison," according to Gemma Karstens-Smith of the CP. The Whitecaps have "started a global search for a sporting director who will lead the technical direction of the club and report directly to ownership." Whitecaps co-Owner Jeff Mallett said that the new hire will "likely come from outside of the league and will need to be an entrepreneurial type who can rewrite the rules when it comes to things such as analytics." Mallett also said that the club "would like to hire someone by the end of the MLS season, but is willing to wait for the right candidate" (CP, 8/16). In Vancouver, Patrick Johnston wrote Lenarduzzi has been "Mr. Everything" for the franchise "for years." However, Lenarduzzi in recent times "came to bear the brunt of fan fury over the direction" of the club. Lenarduzzi was the "regular front-facing member of the Whitecaps’ front office, speaking on matters far and wide," and that part of his role "will continue" in his new position (Vancouver PROVINCE, 8/16).
TIME FOR CHANGE: In Vancouver, Ed Willes wrote in announcing Lenarduzzi's shift on Friday, Whitecaps execs emphasized that this is not a "knee-jerk reaction to the team’s current record or its history or the allegations of abuse against a former coach of the Whitecaps’ women’s team." Rather it is a "much-needed step to keep the team competitive and relevant in the demanding world of MLS -- a world in which the Caps have had trouble keeping up." Lenarduzzi "might have his faults but he was also a million miles from the Whitecaps’ problem areas of player recruitment and development" (Vancouver PROVINCE, 8/17).