Tuesday, October 6, 2009
TAMPA, FL – United Soccer Leagues announced the Finalists for the 2009 USL First Division Coach of the Year award Tuesday, unveiling Puerto Rico’s Colin Clarke, Montreal’s Marc Dos Santos, Carolina’s Martin Rennie and Portland’s Gavin Wilkinson as the candidates for the honor.
Montreal Impact head coach Marc Dos Santos, an early-season replacement in the position, is among three other coaches have previously won the honor as a professional coach in USL. Colin Clarke of the Puerto Rico Islanders received the award last year and Gavin Wilkinson was honored the previous year in his first campaign with the Portland Timbers. Martin Rennie previously won the USL Second Division Coach of the Year award with the Cleveland City Stars in 2007.
The finalists for Rookie of the Year will be announced Wednesday, followed by the finalists for Most Valuable Player Thursday.
Colin Clarke (Puerto Rico Islanders)
For the second consecutive year, Clarke’s squad finished in the top three in the league while balancing participation in the CONCACAF Champions League. The Islanders finished the year with a record of 15-7-8 and the league’s best home record of 11-1-3. The club also finished second in the league in scoring with 44 goals, one back of league leader Portland.
Marc Dos Santos (Montreal Impact)
Having taken over after a 0-3-1 start in league play, Dos Santos went on to guide the team to a record of 12-8-6 for the remainder of the campaign and a fifth place finish. The club finished the season on a strong run, going 5-1-2 in their final eight games of the season under the former Impact assistant, who was previously head coach of the Impact’s affiliated Trois-Riviere Attak.
Martin Rennie (Carolina RailHawks)
The former USL-2 coach showed no problems in transitioning to the top flight in USL, guiding the RailHawks to a second-place finish in the table with a record of 16-7-7. The RailHawks finished with the third-best offense with 43 goals and were tied with Portland for the best defense with only 19 goals allowed on the season.
Gavin Wilkinson (Portland Timbers)
Wilkinson led the club from a worst-to-first turnaround, completely rebuilding the squad from a last-place finish a year ago and capturing the USL-1 Commissioner’s Cup as the regular season champions. The club posted a 16-4-10 record on the year with the best offense at 45 goals and tied for the best defense with Carolina at 19 allowed. They also had the best road record with a mark of 6-1-8 away from home. The Timbers also shattered the league record with a 24-game unbeaten streak during the season.