Vancouver Whitecaps FC (1 Events)
MLS Cup Final: Vancouver Whitecaps FC vs. TBD (Date: TBD - If Necessary)
Vancouver, BC @ BC Place Stadium
The original Vancouver Whitecaps were founded on December 11, 1973 and during the 1970s and 1980s played in the North American Soccer League (NASL). The founding investors in the club were: Herb Capozzi, president; Denny Veitch, general manager; C. N. "Chunky" Woodward owner of Woodwards Department Stores; Chuck Wills, lawyer; Wendy McDonald, president of B.C. Bearing Engineers; Pat McCleary and Harry Moll, proprietors of Charlie Brown Steak House.
The Whitecaps achieved success, winning the 1979 Soccer Bowl coached by Tony Waiters. The Whitecaps of that era included international players such as Alan Ball, but also "home grown" stars like Bobby and Sam Lenarduzzi, Buzz Parsons, and Glen Johnson. In 1979 the team from the "Village of Vancouver" (a reference to ABC TV sportscaster Jim McKay's observation that "Vancouver must be like the deserted village right now", with so many people watching the game on TV) beat the powerhouse New York Cosmos in one of the most thrilling playoff series in NASL history to advance to the Soccer Bowl. In the Soccer Bowl, they triumphed against the Tampa Bay Rowdies in a disappointed New York City. It was during this short period that soccer interest peaked in Vancouver. The Whitecaps attendance at Empire Stadium grew to regular sellouts, at 32,000. The team also recorded two tracks, with "White is the Colour" becoming a hit on local radio during the run-up to their championship win.
After playing at Vancouver's 32,000-seat Empire Stadium for most of their existence, the team moved into the brand new 60,000-seat BC Place Stadium in 1983. However, the subsequent demise of the NASL in 1984 meant the Whitecaps - along with the other teams in the NASL - were forced to fold.
Several of the players from the NASL Vancouver Whitecaps were members of the Canadian Men's National Team preparing for the 1986 World Cup in training camps held in Vancouver. They played exhibition games against teams in the Western Soccer Alliance Challenge Series in 1985. Several are listed on the 1986 FIFA World Cup squads lists as playing for the MISL's Tacoma Stars for the indoor season and played with the Canadian National Men's Team for the outdoor summer season.
The Vancouver 86ers Soccer Club started operations in November 1985 by the community-owned West Coast Soccer Society. Tony Waiters, Les Wilson and Dave Fryatt were the first franchise holders. The Vancouver 86ers were so named because of the year of the team's founding-1986, the 86 principals underwriting the club, and to commemorate the year city of Vancouver was founded (1886). There were a lot of ties between the Whitecaps and the 86ers such as Tony Waiters (shareholder), Buzz Parsons (manager 1987-88), Bob Lenarduzzi (coach 1987-1993), Carl Valentine, Jim Easton, David Norman (soccer), Dale Mitchell (soccer), and other players. In newspaper reports the Whitecaps were often referred to as the previous version of the CSL's Vancouver 86ers. Several attempts were made to purchase the Whitecaps name; however, the name was not for sale or the owner wanted too much money for the cash strapped community-owned club.
The Vancouver 86ers played its first game in 1987 in the Canadian Soccer League against Edmonton. The 86ers played in the Canadian Soccer League (CSL) winning four straight CSL Championships (1988–1991) and five consecutive CSL regular-season first-place finishes (1988–92). Vancouver played in the CSL from its inception in 1987 until the league folded in 1992, and then moved over to the APSL in 1993 which was later absorbed into the USL hierarchy of leagues in 1997 becoming the A-League, later renamed the USL-1.
In 1988–1989, the team, coached by Bob Lenarduzzi, set a North American professional sports record by playing 46 consecutive games without a loss. The record began after the June 1988 match the 86ers lost 3-1 away to the North York Rockets. Vancouver then won 37 matches and tied nine others before falling 2-1 away to the Edmonton Brickmen in August 1989. In 2004 the BC Sports Hall of Fame inducted the 1989 soccer team. Also in 1988 the Vancouver 86ers and Calgary Kickers played six friendly matches each against the Western Soccer Alliance in the month of May.
In 1990, the Vancouver 86ers captured the North American Club Championship after defeating the Maryland Bays 3–2 in the final played in Burnaby. The game was played between the champions of the Canadian Soccer League and the champions of the American Professional Soccer League (APSL). The Vancouver 86ers withdrew from the 1992 CONCACAF Champions' Cup prior to the opening Group 2 first round match due to financial constraints.
In 1999 Vancouver's player-coach who was one of North American soccer's last active participants in the NASL, Carl Valentine, retired. With whole hearted support from the fans the new owner, David Stadnyk, bought the name Whitecaps from former NASL Whitecaps director John Laxton. October 26, 2000 the Vancouver 86ers formally changed their name back to the Whitecaps.
In the 2001 season, the team began to use the old Vancouver Whitecaps moniker. The club adopted a similar crest to that of the NASL team featuring a wave. A white cap is a nautical term for a wind wave, not a surf wave. White caps are indicative of Force 4/5 wind and a 4-6 foot (1.2-1.5m) wave height. For smaller boat craft, the appearance of white caps are a sign of rising wind and danger often necessitating a return to harbour. With the rebranding process of the MLS franchise, the club crest was expanded to include the white caps of snow covered mountains and include all of the province of BC.
In 2003, the name was again changed, albeit only slightly, to Whitecaps FC, which encompasses the men's, women's, and youth development teams within the organization. At this time, the Whitecaps logo changed slightly in colour (the light teal-green was replaced with a brighter blue) and the word "Vancouver" was dropped from the image.
In 2006, the Whitecaps organization won an unprecedented double-championship, claiming both the USL-1 championship trophy, defeating the host Rochester Rhinos 3–0 at PAETEC Park, and winning the W-League women's championship. The men's team also won the Nation's Cup, a new tournament established by their club as a way to feature the Whitecaps playing against international competition. The 2006 Nation's Cup tournament featured the Chinese and Indian U-20 National teams and Championship Welsh club Cardiff City F.C. (the "Bluebirds"). They also gradually added the "Vancouver" back into their name, changing it officially to "Vancouver Whitecaps FC".
The following season, the Whitecaps signed a deal to play an exhibition match against the Los Angeles Galaxy, which featured international David Beckham, and promoted Director of Soccer Operations Bob Lenarduzzi to team president. USL-1 teams especially those in the USA competing in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, were beginning to see with marketing that MLS teams could be a larger draw as MLS's quality of play increased and the league gained a greater profile.
October 12, 2008, they claimed their second United Soccer Leagues First Division championship with a 2–1 victory over the Puerto Rico Islanders. Charles Gbeke scored twice with his head in the second half to help secure the title. In 2009, they placed 7th in the league and were eliminated in the final by the Montreal Impact on a 6–3 aggregate.
The Vancouver franchise was granted status on March 18, 2009 by MLS Commissioner Don Garber as the seventeenth franchise of Major League Soccer. It is to join the Portland Timbers, announced two days later as the eighteenth MLS franchise, for the 2011 MLS season. While no name was provided at the Vancouver announcement, over a year later the club confirmed that the MLS team would keep the Whitecaps name.
In preparation for its inaugural season, the Whitecaps brought in executive talent from around the world. On November 24, 2009, Paul Barber, former Tottenham Hotspur F.C. executive, was announced to join the club as CEO. Others joining him include former D.C. United head coach Tom Soehn as Director of Operations and Dutch national Richard Grootscholten as the technical director and head coach of the residency program. Former Iceland international Teitur Thordarson was confirmed as head coach on September 2, 2010 for the inaugural MLS season. He held the same position with the USL-1 and later USSF Division 2 Whitecaps.