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Robinson ringing the changes as Paul Ritchie let go

Carl Robinson already seems to be putting his own stamp on Vancouver Whitecaps and he'll be continuing it with a new assistant coach by his side after deciding to part ways with current assistant Paul Ritchie.

Ritchie spoke with Robinson by telephone on Wednesday and he received official confirmation from the Whitecaps by email this morning that he was no longer assistant coach at the club and his contract would not be extended.

The decision will disappoint Ritchie, who was keen to stay in Vancouver and has been forced to play the waiting game with the uncertainty of his own future these past seven weeks.

The 38 year old former Scottish international came to Vancouver with Martin Rennie in November 2012, having previously been with Rennie as his assistant at Carolina RailHawks for two seasons.

Ritchie was a popular figure with the players, who respected his honesty and top level experience. His presence will certainly be missed by many at the club and is a loss.
The UEFA Pro licensed coach was always viewed by many as Rennie's right hand man, so the decision to move in a different direction and cut ties with his friend can be seen as a way to further move away from the previous regime and show that Robinson is his own man, whether that decision has been made by choice or necessity.

There is no word on the fate of current goalkeeping coach Marius Røvde or fellow assistant coach Jake DeClute. Røvde is thought to still have a year left on his contract.

Robinson is back in the UK at the moment and will have his idea of who he wants to be standing on the touchline with him.

You can be sure that there will be a couple of appointments to follow, with current Residency head coach Gordon Forrest mentioned by some as a possibility to make the step up, having already been working as the link between the Caps' young talent making the move to the MLS team.

The big question now is does Robinson go for an older mentor as his main assistant? Someone who also has coaching experience in MLS and can share ideas and lessons learned in the league.

Or does he go for a young up and comer, possibly even coming in from outside of MLS altogether?

Another option that the club may consider is to appoint a Director of Football to give the mentoring role from there to the young coach.

It's going to be an interesting decision, and whoever the appointments end up being they will give a good indication of the kind of team that he wants to build. Robinson may already only be four days into the job, but he is showing already that he is not afraid to shy away from the big decisions and put his own mark on the Whitecaps.