Home Featured Rennie brings another RailHawk into the Whitecaps’ fold

Rennie brings another RailHawk into the Whitecaps’ fold

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Paul Ritchie
A week after assistant coaches Colin Miller and Denis Hamlett were shown the door, new Vancouver Whitecaps boss Martin Rennie is bringing one of his old Carolina RailHawks cohorts into his new club’s staff.

Rennie, the new Whitecaps coach, will have his old Carolina RailHawks assistant and fellow Scot, Paul Ritchie, at his side at B.C. Place. The Whitecaps announced Ritchie’s hiring on Thursday.

Both Rennie and Ritchie were at the helm of a Carolina RailHawks club that ran away and hid at the top of the NASL standings, then fizzled after the mid-season announcement that Rennie would join the Whitecaps when the second-division season came to an end. The RailHawks still finished with the best record in NASL, but lost their last four games of the regular season and crashed out of the playoffs — an astonishing collapse for a club that was arguably better than many lower-tier MLS teams early in the season. (Could the RailHawks we saw in May and June have beaten the Whitecaps? Definitely. Could the RailHawks of September have beaten Orlando City? Well, maybe.)

Ritchie was capped seven times by the Scottish national side. He is the former coach Dundee United’s U-19 team. He played for Dundee United, Hearts and Rangers in Scotland and spent time in England with Walsall, Manchester City, Bolton, Portsmouth and Derby County.

“Paul has been an integral part of the on-field success of the RailHawks over the past couple of years,” said RailHawks President Curt Johnson in a release. “We wish him and his family well and thank him for the excellent work he has done while an assistant coach with the club.”

“Paul was a key member of my coaching staff in Carolina the past two seasons,” said Rennie in a release. “He brings a wealth of knowledge and will play an important role in building a successful team here in Vancouver.”

Now that Rennie has brought his assistant on board, Whitecaps fans have to wonder if any other pieces from the RailHawks of 2011 will end up in Vancouver. Montreal, moving from NASL to MLS for 2012, has first right of refusal on NASL players at the moment.

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