The 37-year old Welshman has stepped into the role vacated by Martin Rennie after spending the past two seasons as Whitecaps assistant.
"We are thrilled to announce Carl Robinson as our new head coach," said club president Bob Lenarduzzi.
"During his time with the club, Carl has shown the qualities you look for in a successful head coach – a strong leader, great communicator with both youth and experienced players, high soccer IQ, technical and tactical intelligence, and a great work ethic.
"We are confident that Carl is a coach who will bring out the best in his players and help our club achieve success this season and beyond."
Robinson, whose playing career included spells with Wolves, Portsmouth, Sunderland, Norwich City, Toronto FC and New York Red Bulls, added: "I have thoroughly enjoyed my first two seasons in Vancouver, and am looking forward to the start of the 2014 season - the club's 40th anniversary.
"We have an exceptional fan base, a solid core of youth and experience, and a committed ownership group. I'm really excited about the opportunity to drive this club forward."
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