Vancouver Whitecaps Get Major League Soccer (MLS) Team

March 19, 2009 at 2:16 am | Posted in General Football, Vancouver Whitecaps | 2 Comments

The worst kept secret in town is now out.  We have our MLS franchise and will kick off in March 2011.  This is a day of great joy for us long suffering football fans in Vancouver.    For those of us who used to go to Empire Stadium to watch the team when they were in the NASL and  witnessed our beloved team’s demise along with that league, this is a dream come true.  We had always hoped the team would rise again like a phoenix from the ashes, and now it has.   

My feeling today is one of gratitude, and I must thank those responsible for making this happen.  

First credit goes to Bob Lenarduzzi who lead us out of the desert and into the promised land.  He is our Moses!  Bob kept soccer alive all of this time as a player with the Vancouver 86ers, coach of the 86ers, manager of the Whitecaps and just by being the one recognizable soccer personality who could keep it going through the darkest times.  Bob was fired by previous owner David Stadnyk and then re-hired by the USL to manage the team while it was under the league’s administration after Stadnyk walked away.  Bob was the guy Greg Kerfoot called when Kerfoot expressed interest in the team, when the team looked dead and buried.    All soccer fans in Vancouver and BC owe Bob Lenarduzzi a debt of thanks.   Bob kept football alive so that we could enjoy it! Thank you Bob!!!

I would like to thank Owner Greg Kerfoot, the man who save our team from oblivion.   Not only did he save the team, he injected new life and purpose into the team with his vision and leadership.  His goal was to win championships with both the Men’s and the Women’s teams.   He achieved those goals.     He has embraced soccer in BC with a tremendous enthusiasm and generosity.   Lets face it, without him, we would not be here today.   Thanks Greg Kerfoot!!!  I would like to thank Steve Nash, Mallet and Luczo for their support.  What an ownership team!!!

I would like to thank Mayors Sullivan and Robertson for throwing their weight and support behind the team.  Mayor Sullivan went to NYC to lobby Garber last November and it looks like it worked!

Thanks to Don Garber of MLS for giving us a team!!!

The future looks very bright indeed for the Whitecaps.   We will now not only get MLS, but international friendlies with high profile teams.  Manchester United?  Real Madrid?  The sky is the limit.  I can remember seeing Manchester City, Manchester United and Roma at Empire, and now we will be able to attract these kinds of teams again.  

We will now be able to take the Canadian Championship to a higher level, and perhaps we will get to have a CONCACAF Champions League run together like Montreal’s.   Rivalries with Toronto FC and the Seattle Sounders will be electric.   

This is a happy day indeed!!!

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  1. First of al., congratulations in getting a franchise to play in MLS from 2011. I can’t exactly describe myself as a fan of Vancouver Whitecaps, but they were always one of the clubs I used to take an interest in 30 or so years ago. I support Derby County, and one of the greatest players in our history, and my favourite player of all time, was ‘King’ Kevin Hector. I understand that he did ok for you guys after the awful Tommy Docherty sold him.

    Today, my ears pricked up again, and I thought of Vancouver Whitecaps again for the first time in 20-odd years. It transpires that one of your board, Jeff Mallett, has decided to invest some his hard-earned in Derby County. I wonder whether it was the Hector connection (and Alan Hinton, Peter Daniel and one or two other players from his youth) that convinced him to look at The Rams.

    Best wishes for the future – I bet that there will be the opportunity for a friendly or two between our clubs in years to come.

    Eddie

    • Eddie: Thanks for your congrats! We are thrilled over here as you can imagine. We remember King Kevin very well. I have a TOFFS Whitecaps shirt with his number on it! He was key to our run to the Soccer Bowl championship back in 1979.
      It looks like Derby Co need a bit of cash from Mallet because they are having a rough year. I can’t believe the bottom of the championship right now. It looks like the drop from the Premiership is very catastrophic indeed.

      Do you remember Paul Pescisolido? A Canadian guy who used to play for you!

      The other team the Whitecaps used to have a connection to was Leeds U… but look at where they are!!!


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