Martin Rennie in 2009, during his first season with the Carolina RailHawks

Martin Rennie, the 36-year-old Scotsman who has expertly guided the Carolina RailHawks for two and a half seasons, is expected to punch his ticket to the big time today.

At 1:30 p.m. ET (10:30 a.m. local time), Vancouver Whitecaps FC will hold a press conference in which they are expected to name their permanent replacement for interim head coach Tom Soehn.

That new coach is expected to be Rennie. Triangle Offense reported last night via Twitter that Rennie was en route to Vancouver to be formally introduced to the media there. Afterward, Marc Weber, the Whitecaps beat reporter for The Province newspaper of Vancouver, wrote that Rennie had agreed to a three-year deal.

Weber also confirmed Triangle Offense’s report that Rennie will finish the season with the RailHawks before assuming his new job for the 2012 season.

Rennie has been tipped for big things following an unbroken record of success, first in the third and fourth divisions of the United States soccer pyramid, then in three seasons with the RailHawks. Currently, the RailHawks are in first place in the North American Soccer League (NASL), 12 points clear of second-place Puerto Rico.

Speculation and reporting on Rennie’s future intensified yesterday afternoon when the Cary-based RailHawks announced a press conference for Tuesday “to make important announcement regarding the 2011 season and beyond.”

That press conference is scheduled for 1:30 p.m., simultaneous with the event in Vancouver. RailHawks president Curt Johnson is the only official listed as a participant in the Cary event.

Neil Morris, who has been doing most of Triangle Offense’s reporting on this story, will be at the Cary press conference, while we will also try to dial in to the Vancouver press conference. We’ll be providing updates throughout the day via Twitter @IndyweekSports.