VANCOUVER, BC – Vancouver Whitecaps FC announced today the appointment of Richard Grootscholten as the new technical director and head coach of the club's full-time Residency program.
"As we begin the next chapter in our history as a Major League Soccer (MLS) club, the Residency program remains an integral part of our vision to develop players for the highest levels of the game," said Bob Lenarduzzi, Whitecaps FC president. "Attracting a top international coaching talent such as Richard speaks volumes to the reputation of our club and our Residency program. I believe Richard will play a crucial role in our plans to become one of the top professional clubs in world soccer."
Born in De Lier, Netherlands, Grootscholten joins Whitecaps FC with 20 years of coaching experience in Dutch soccer. Most recently, Grootscholten served as technical director of Sparta Rotterdam - the oldest professional soccer club in the Netherlands - from 2008 to 2010. Between 2006 and 2008, he served as head coach of the Sparta youth academy and assistant coach of the club’s first team.
Grootscholten's five-year tenure with Sparta resulted in the development of 17 academy players for the first team, with 12 of those youngsters moving up in the last two years. As many as six current and former Sparta players were recently involved with the Dutch U-21 squad. For his efforts at Sparta, the club received the prestigious Rinus Michels Award for having the best youth academy in the Netherlands during the 2008-09 season. Sparta also finished runners-up for the award in seasons 2007-08 and 2009-10.
“It is an honour for me to join Whitecaps FC and to be part of their plans to become the top professional club in North America,” said Grootscholten. “The club already has a great history and reputation, while it has clearly shown its commitment to developing young talent. Having worked my entire professional career in the Netherlands, I'm hopeful I can contribute in a positive way to the development of great young players in Canada.”
Grootscholten, 45, will join Craig Dalrymple, Steve Meadley, and Martin Nash as a member of the Whitecaps FC Residency coaching staff. Dalrymple will serve as the Residency's assistant technical director, while Meadley will serve as an assistant coach, and Nash as a staff coach.
“Adding a leader with Richard’s level of expertise and stature, coupled with the timing of the club's entrance into Major League Soccer, provides an incredible opportunity to build and expand the profile of our Residency program over the coming year,” said Dan Lenarduzzi, Whitecaps FC director of soccer development. “We’ve had great success with the Residency program over the past years, and believe Richard will help us build on that success and take the program to even greater heights.”
Prior to his role as Sparta technical director, Grootscholten spent time with Dutch clubs VV Katwijk, Excelsior Maassluis, and RKVV Westlandia.
Grootscholten's coaching credentials include Europe's top coaching certification from the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA Pro License), as well as 'A', 'B', and 'C' - level certification from UEFA.
As a player, Grootscholten made a total of 352 appearances with Dutch semi-professional club RKVV Westlandia between 1971 and 1995. During that time, he served as the club's first-team captain.
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