Stuart Neely wasn’t out of work for very long.
The Vancouver Whitecaps announced Thursday that it has hired Neely as head of player management and advancement for the MLS club’s residency program.
In his new job, Neely will essentially fill the same role he previously served for Toronto FC.
"I’m very excited to be joining a club as dedicated to player development as Whitecaps FC," Neely said in a news release. "The residency program is beginning to show its rewards and we’re eager for it to continue to grow."
Neely quit his position as director of TFC’s academy in December. The Scotland native joined the Reds in 2008 when they launched their academy after spending several years with the Canadian Soccer Association as its technical programs manager.
Neely coached the Reds’ youth teams and then became academy director in 2010 following the promotion of Earl Cochrane, currently the team’s director of team and player operation.
Under Neely’s tenure as director, defender Ashtone Morgan graduated to TFC’s senior side and impressed during his rookie campaign in 2011 — so much so that he became the first product of the TFC youth academy to be called up to Canada’s national team.
During his tenure with the club, six players graduated to TFC’s senior team from the academy.
Whitecaps president Bob Lenarduzzi heralded Neely as "a key asset in strengthening our development program."
"We’re very pleased to have someone of Stuart’s experience and pedigree join Whitecaps FC," Lenarduzzi said in a news release.
Toronto FC hired former U.S. under-20 coach Thomas Rongen in January as Neely’s successor. Most recently, Rongen served as coach of the American Samoa national team.
Rongen joined Toronto FC at an important time for the academy program.
Last year, Toronto FC unveiled plans for its new academy and training facility at Downsview Park in North Toronto at a cost of $21 million. The 14 acre state-of-the-art complex, set to open this summer, will serve as the primary practice, training and development facility for TFC and its junior and senior academy teams.