It’s Official: Whitecaps to Join MLS in 2011

The dust has settled, and commissioner Don Garber has officially announced that the MLS’s 17th team will be the Vancouver Whitecaps. The official announcement came at a press conference today featuring everyone from B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell (whose crackling voice, by the way, makes him sound like a 14-year-old boy) and Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson, to Don Garber, Bob Lenarduzzi and the non-Steve Nash members of the Whitecaps’ ownership team.

This is, undoubtedly, excellent news not only for the Whitecaps and their supporters, but also for soccer in Canada. Happily, everyone in the Whitecaps organization appears to understand that this is more than just a business decision, but a way to capitalize on and support the huge popularity of soccer in British Columbia.

Already keen to stir the pot, Mayor Robertson took dead aim at natural rivals the Seattle Sounders and Toronto FC, sniping about how Toronto snuck into the league ahead of Vancouver. (Start working on your anti-Whitecaps chants, TFC supporters.) Lenarduzzi, for his part, made the bold (and possibly accurate) claim that Vancouver is a better natural soccer market than both of the above towns, despite their overwhelming success at the ticket office. Both spoke of a return to the long-lost status of North American champions. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, now, fellas.

The Vancouver side will move into a soon-to-be renovated B.C. Place, which, Lenarduzzi has assured one and all, will be made as soccer-specific as possible. Complete with a funky new roof, and a capacity of 20,000 for soccer matches, B.C. Place will benefit from a $365 million face lift, to truly be one of Canada’s premier soccer stadiums.

In all, it’s an exciting day for soccer in Canada; hard proof that soccer is growing, and that there’s a future to be built for the sport in this country.


7 Responses to “It’s Official: Whitecaps to Join MLS in 2011”

  1. 2011 can’t come soon enough! great news!

  2. Good news for the progression of football in Canada

  3. While this is obviously fantastic news, two curious pieces of information emerged today:

    1. There was no confirmation that the team would actually be called the Whitecaps. In fact, Lenarduzzi dithered on the subject. I can’t imagine why the hell they would change it — the name has the most historical cache in Canadian soccer. Curious.

    2. After hearing that the $40 million expansion fee was completely non-negotiable (and being lead to believe that Montreal’s bid fell apart because they did attempt to negotiate), Vancouver was let into the league for $35 million. Why’s that? Curious.

  4. So now we can start the Victoria Highlanders to USL-1 countdown clock, right?

  5. ^ Ha ha, for sure. The more teams eligible for the Voyageurs Cup the better… that being said, let’s wait for the Highlanders to set foot on the field before getting our hopes up too high.

  6. Heads Up:
    News out of Portland stated that MLS and the Portland Timbers group looking at 2011 expansion have set a Friday morning news conference at the Portland Hilton (9:30am PT)

    Portland Business Journal: … ily28.html


    The Oregonian: … er_te.html

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