“Paul was a key member of my coaching staff in Carolina the past two seasons,” said Whitecaps FC head coach Martin Rennie. “He brings a wealth of knowledge and will play an important role in building a successful team here in Vancouver.”
Ritchie, 36, joins Whitecaps FC after two successful seasons as Rennie’s first assistant with North American Soccer League (NASL) club Carolina RailHawks. During his time in North Carolina, Ritchie helped the RailHawks to an NASL Conference title and a runners-up finish in the United States Soccer Federation Division-2 Professional League (USSF D-2) finals in 2010. This season, Ritchie helped guide Carolina to an NASL regular season title, with the RailHawks finishing the 2011 campaign as league leaders in goals scored with 50 in 28 matches, while conceding a league-best 26 goals. He also spent a year coaching with Manchester United Soccer Schools and a year as the U-19 coach with Scottish club Dundee FC.
“I am looking forward to working with Martin again in this new challenge,” added Ritchie. “Vancouver is a beautiful city and I can’t wait to get started.”
Currently working towards his Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) Pro Licence, Ritchie holds UEFA ‘A’ and ‘B’ Coaching Licences, as well as a Scottish Football Association Youth Licence.
Before embarking on a career in coaching, Ritchie enjoyed a successful playing career, which included spells with Scottish Premier League sides Heart of Midlothian, Rangers, and Dundee United, as well as English clubs Manchester City and Walsall. He also had loan spells with three English clubs in Bolton Wanderers, Portsmouth, and Derby County. A Scotland international, Ritchie made seven appearances and scored one goal for his country between June 1999 and February 2004.