Vancouver Whitecaps FC
Vancouver Whitecaps FC is a Canadian professional soccer team based in Vancouver, British Columbia that competes in the Western Conference of Major League Soccer (MLS). The Whitecaps were the 17th team to enter Major League Soccer and replaced the USSF Division 2 team of the same name in the city. The club has been owned and managed by the same group since their USSF days, having graduated to MLS after the conclusion of the USSF's 2010 season. The MLS version of the team is a phoenix club, and the third to carry the legacy of the Whitecaps name. In the 2012 season, the team became the first Canadian team to qualify for the MLS Cup Playoffs.
|Founded||March 18, 2009|
|Stadium||BC Place, Vancouver|
|Sporting director||Axel Schuster|
|Coach||Marc Dos Santos|
|League||Major League Soccer|
|2019||Western Conference: 12th|
Playoffs: Did not qualify
An ownership group in Vancouver were granted the seventeenth Major League Soccer franchise on March 18, 2009 by MLS Commissioner Don Garber. While no name was provided at the Vancouver announcement, over a year later the club confirmed it would keep the Whitecaps name.
In preparation for its first MLS 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 included 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.
As the head coach of the USL and later USSF Division 2 Vancouver Whitecaps, former Iceland international Teitur Thordarson was confirmed as head coach on September 2, 2010 for the inaugural MLS season. He was subsequently relieved of his duties on May 30, 2011 after the Whitecaps won just one of their first twelve matches. Tom Soehn, the Whitecaps director of soccer operations, replaced Thordarson on an interim basis.
The Whitecaps began play in the 2011 MLS season with their first match on March 19, 2011, against rival Canadians Toronto FC, which they won 4–2. The first goal in the Whitecaps' MLS era was scored by Eric Hassli. After their winning start the Whitecaps struggled, and failed to secure another victory in their next 11 MLS games, drawing six and losing five. In the aftermath of their 1–1 draw with the New York Red Bulls on May 30 head coach Teitur Thordarson was fired. Tom Soehn took over coaching duties for the remainder of the 2011 season, while Martin Rennie was announced as the new permanent head coach on August 9, taking over officially on November 2.
On March 3, 2012, the Whitecaps won their first minor, pre-season cup at the 2012 Walt Disney World Pro Soccer Classic defeating Toronto FC 1–0 thanks to a goal by Camilo. The Whitecaps finished the regular season with 11 wins, 3 losses, and 10 ties positioning the club, 5th in the Western Conference and 11th on the league overall table. On October 21, 2012, the Whitecaps became the first Canadian team to earn a spot in the MLS playoffs. Vancouver were eliminated in the knockout round.
In the 2013 season, Vancouver finished in 7th in the Western Conference, 13th in the league table with 13 wins, 12 losses, and 9 ties in the regular season. They were not able to qualify for the post season, in the playoffs as they had accomplished in the season prior. Two days after the end of the 2013 MLS regular season, Rennie's contract was not renewed sparking a search for the next head coach. In their off-season, the Whitecaps were in the midst of controversy with one of their then players, Camilo, who had played for the team since their inaugural campaign, after the Brazilian went on to join Liga MX club Querétaro. The Mexican club believed that he was no longer under contract, while the Whitecaps reported that he was still on a contract with Vancouver. The scandal was resolved with the Liga MX club paying a transfer fee from Vancouver to acquire the Brazilian forward.
In October 2014, the Whitecaps qualified for the 2015–16 CONCACAF Champions League for the very first time as a result of becoming the highest ranked Canadian team in the 2014 MLS season and due to a reformatting of the Canadian Championship in the following season. A week later they qualified for the MLS playoffs for the second time, an achievement unmatched by any Canadian team.
Colours and badge
On June 8, 2010, it was officially announced the club would continue using the "Whitecaps" name, but with a redesigned logo. The name alludes to the geographic features surrounding the city: snow-capped mountains to the north and the Pacific Ocean's white-capped waves to the west.
The official club colours include navy blue ("deep sea"), white, and light blue ("Whitecaps blue"). The "deep sea" blue represents the maritime landscape of the Vancouver area and the "Whitecaps blue" indicates the reflection of the North Shore Mountains in the Pacific Ocean. The lighter shade of blue also alludes to the primary colour of the original Whitecaps, winners of Soccer Bowl 1979. The silver outline pays homage to the team's championship victories since 1974.
On June 10, 2010, the Whitecaps strip package was unveiled with Bell Canada serving as the inaugural jersey sponsor. The home shirt is white with horizontal, navy blue pinstripes; the stripes broaden slightly from bottom to top. The secondary shirt is deep blue with an embossed, interlocking diamond pattern which is also deep blue and is reflective in the light.
On June 14, 2012, the Whitecaps unveiled a third kit. The third kit is predominantly "arbutus brown", with sky blue accents, which reflects the unique land full of deep roots and the high-reaching arms of the temperate rainforests of British Columbia.
In 2019 they used a redesigned version of their 1979 kit as a 40th anniversary tribute to the team winning the 1979 NASL Soccer Bowl.
Home, away, and third kits.
The Whitecaps plays its home matches at BC Place in Vancouver, which it shares with the BC Lions of the Canadian Football League. Vancouver has played at BC Place since the final month of the 2011 MLS season, having spent the majority of that year at Empire Field.
BC Place is a 54,500-seat multi-purpose stadium designed for both Canadian football and soccer. The stadium opened in 1983, but underwent a complete two-phase revitalization project between 2009–2011. The stadium now features the largest cable-supported retractable roof in the world and polytan artificial turf, which is certified by FIFA with a 2-star rating. The Whitecaps reduce the stadium's capacity to 22,120 for matches by using white sails (known as the "secondary roof") to close off the upper bowl. Club ownership initially hoped to build Whitecaps Waterfront Stadium in Gastown in time for the 2016 season, but the club has committed to BC Place in light of stadium opposition.
The club played most of its inaugural season at Empire Field, a temporary stadium built at the former site of Empire Stadium to house the Whitecaps and the BC Lions while BC Place was being renovated. Empire Field was a 27,500-seat multi-purpose stadium that featured FIFA 1-star rated FieldTurf. The team played its final match at Empire Field on September 24, 2011, a 3–1 loss to Seattle Sounders FC. The following week, the Whitecaps played their first match at BC Place, a 1–0 loss to Portland Timbers on October 2, 2011.
The club does not have a permanent training facility, opting instead to use facilities around Greater Vancouver. However, the club partnered with the Government of British Columbia and the University of British Columbia (UBC) to build a $32.5 million National Soccer Development Centre on the UBC campus, which opened on September 22, 2017.
The largest Whitecaps supporters group is known as the Southsiders. The group began in 1999 when fans of the Vancouver 86ers began congregating in the pitch-level beer garden behind the goal at the south end of Swangard Stadium.
The Southsiders' relationship with the team's ownership has not always been amicable. It has evolved since Vancouver received the MLS expansion team. Images of the Southsiders are featured prominently in Whitecaps' marketing campaigns. The group's board was invited to the invite-only launch of the kits and logo to be used in MLS. The expansion has also increased membership to over 1200. The president of the organization said that it had grown from about 40 paid members to 100 paid in July 2010. He also believes there is no reason why the Southsiders cannot outdo the Seattle Sounders' Emerald City Supporters. Southsider supporters are primarily located in the southeast corner (sections 249–254) of B.C. Place stadium.
Two additional supporters groups are the Curva Collective and the Rain City Brigade. Curva Collective has grown to be the second-largest supporters group for the Whitecaps located in sections 203 and 204 or the southwest curva. The Rain City Brigade has a block of about 225 season tickets for their members in section 201 and marches from Library Square.
Another group, "La Doce", formed in January 2011. Their original name in Spanish is "La 12", which can be translated into English as "The 12th" or "The 12th player". La 12 is formed by people from different nationalities that have a preference to support the Whitecaps in a Latin American, Southern European or Eastern European Style. The main feature of La 12 is its cheering style that features constant drumming and longer songs, resembling the way in which fans in South America or Southern or Eastern Europe like to support. La 12 fans were primarily seated in the southeast corner of Empire Field. The group has since folded after the 2011 season with many members joining Curva Collective.
The team sold the first 5,000 $50 season ticket deposits 48 hours after they became available to the public. Remaining season tickets were made available to season ticket holders for the USSF 2 Whitecaps before becoming available to non-season ticket holders. The team managed to attract 15,500 season ticket holders in its first MLS season and 13,000 for the second.
The official mascot for the Whitecaps is Spike, a Belted kingfisher, a bird common to the Vancouver area.
The Vancouver Whitecaps have longstanding rivalries with both Seattle Sounders FC and the Portland Timbers. The rivalries predate MLS and have been an integral part of the soccer culture in the Pacific Northwest. Matches between these three teams are arguably the most passionate in all of MLS as each of these teams are well-supported by their respective cities.
The Vancouver Whitecaps also have rivalries with Toronto FC and the Montreal Impact. Vancouver's first game in MLS was against Toronto in an attempt by the league to spur a rivalry between the two Canadian teams. Montreal was a rival in the second division. The three teams have played each other during Voyageurs Cup competitions.
All Whitecaps matches are broadcast on television and radio. Through the 2013 season, Sportsnet Pacific and Sportsnet One nationally broadcast all "regional" Whitecaps games not televised by TSN or TSN2 as part of its national package of MLS games, broadcasting 24 games per season. Regional matches were called by Craig MacEwen, who does play-by-play, and former Vancouver 86ers goalkeeper Paul Dolan, who provides colour commentary. Dolan replaced former Vancouver Whitecaps midfielder Martin Nash, who provided colour commentary during the Whitecaps FC inaugural season. In January 2014, TSN (which is owned by Bell Media, a subsidiary of the Whitecaps' founding sponsor Bell Canada) announced that it would take over broadcast rights to these "regional" Whitecaps games beginning in the 2014 Major League Soccer season. In 2014, selected games aired on CTV and CTV Two's Vancouver-area affiliates due to scheduling conflicts.
On radio, Whitecaps games are primarily broadcast on TSN Radio 1410 (also owned by Bell Media), with some matches being broadcast on its sister station, TSN Radio 1040. Until the end of the 2016 season, matches broadcast on radio has play-by-play duties shared between Peter Schaad and Scott Rintoul, and by former Vancouver Whitecaps midfielder David Norman, who provides colour commentary. Norman replaced Paul Dolan prior to the 2012 MLS season, after Dolan joined the Sportsnet broadcasting team.
Vancouver Whitecaps FC is owned by a group of four investors; Greg Kerfoot, Steve Luczo, Jeff Mallett, and Steve Nash. The group has a collective net worth over $2 billion. Kerfoot has been the majority owner of the Whitecaps since 2002, when he saved the club from contraction after previous owner David Stadnyk left the club, selling it to United Soccer Leagues. He was previously the chairman and chief executive officer (CEO) of Crystal Decisions. Mallett, a former chief operating officer (COO) of Yahoo!, who was raised in Victoria, British Columbia, has a significant background in soccer. He played for the British Columbia under-16 provincial team and was on the University of Victoria Vikes squad that lost in the final of the 1982 CIS Men's Soccer Championship. He also spent one year with the San Francisco State University Gators men's soccer team before an injury left him unable to continue playing competitive soccer. After leaving Yahoo!, Mallett purchased a minority stakes in the San Francisco Giants of Major League Baseball and English soccer club Derby County F.C.. Having first met at a charity soccer event in 2005, Mallett partnered with Steve Nash—a two-time National Basketball Association (NBA) Most Valuable Player who was also raised in Victoria—to put together a bid for a minority share of English soccer club Tottenham Hotspur F.C. in 2008. After that transaction fell through, the duo contacted Kerfoot about a minority stake in the club. Nash is the older brother of former Whitecaps midfielder Martin Nash. The fourth partner, Steve Luczo, is the president, chairman, and CEO of Seagate Technology and a partner in Boston Basketball Partners L.L.C., a group who own the NBA Boston Celtics. Luczo met Kerfoot while the two were both employed by Seagate Technology, and Kerfoot contacted Luczo proposing he become part of the club's MLS bid. In 2009, the group paid a $35 million expansion fee to MLS for the right to join the league.
Current players and staff
- For details on former players, see All-time Vancouver Whitecaps FC roster.
|4||Midfielder||Hwang In-beom (DP)|
|9||Forward||Lucas Cavallini (DP)|
|12||Forward||Fredy Montero (DP)|
|31||Midfielder||Russell Teibert (HG)|
|50||Forward||Theo Bair (HG)|
|51||Goalkeeper||Thomas Hasal (HG)|
|53||Defender||Ali Adnan (DP)|
|54||Midfielder||Simon Colyn (HG)|
|55||Midfielder||Michael Baldisimo (HG)|
|56||Midfielder||Georges Mukumbilwa (HG)|
|Head coach||Marc Dos Santos|
|Assistant coach||Vanni Sartini|
|Assistant coach||Phillip Dos Santos|
|Goalkeeper coach||Youssef Dahha|
|Staff coach||Steve Meadley|
|Head video analyst||Andy Peat|
|Assistant video analyst||Luke Summers|
Former players and staff
|September 1, 2010 – May 30, 2011||Teitur Thordarson|
|May 30, 2011 – October 25, 2011||Tom Soehn (interim)|
|October 26, 2011 – October 29, 2013||Martin Rennie|
|December 16, 2013 – September 25, 2018||Carl Robinson|
|September 25, 2018 – November 7, 2018||Craig Dalrymple (interim)|
|November 7, 2018 – present||Marc Dos Santos|
Whitecaps FC 2
Whitecaps FC 2 was the farm club of the Vancouver Whitecaps that was established on November 21, 2014. Whitecaps FC 2 began competing in the 2015 season, in the USL. On November 27, 2017, the Whitecaps dissolved their reserve side in favour of affiliating with 2018 expansion club Fresno FC.
See or edit raw graph data.
|Year||MLS regular season||Position||MLS Cup
|2011||34||6||18||10||35||55||28||9th||18th||Did not qualify||Runners-up||Did not qualify|
|2013||34||13||12||9||53||45||48||7th||13th||Did not qualify||Runners-up|
|2015||34||16||13||5||45||36||53||2nd||3rd||Conference Semifinals||Champions||Group Stage|
|2016||34||10||15||9||45||52||39||8th||16th||Did not qualify||Runners-up||Semi-final|
|2017||34||15||12||7||50||49||52||3rd||8th||Conference Semifinals||Semi-final||Did not qualify|
|2018||34||13||13||8||54||67||47||8th||14th||Did not qualify||Runners-up|
|2019||34||8||16||10||37||59||34||12th||23rd||Third qualifying round|
CONCACAF Champions League
Vancouver has qualified for the CONCACAF Champions League twice, the first in the 2015–16 edition of the tournament.
Player records and awards
Note: Only MLS regular season goals counted
- As of October 13, 2019
|5||Forward||Fredy Montero||2017, 2019||21||1||0||1||23|
- As of September 21, 2019
- Appearances: Jordan Harvey (179)
- Goals: Camilo (39)
- Assists: Pedro Morales (22)
- Hat tricks
- Wins: David Ousted (55)
- Shutouts (clean sheets): David Ousted (42)
MLS regular season only, as of May 26, 2018
- MLS franchise granted in 2009. Original team founded in 1974.
- Expandable to 54,313 based on configuration.
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