Reasons to keep supporting the Vancouver Whitecaps

August 4, 2011 at 10:20 pm | Posted in Whitecaps Season 2011 | 15 Comments

In what is becoming a difficult year for Vancouver Whitecaps supporters, the question could be asked: why keep supporting them?  I have heard grumbles from people about not renewing seasons tickets and the odd boo of players at the end of the game against Columbus recently.

I feel we are at the tipping point where a lot of people might start to turn against the team and question why they should renew their season’s tickets. The win column in Major League Soccer only has two;  Losses number 11 and ties 8. We lost our Canadian Championship campaign to Toronto Football Club.  It is enough to put a chill on the heart of even the most devoted supporter. We have to remind ourselves of why we should keep supporting the Whitecaps.  Here are the reasons:

1.  The team is not as bad as all that.  Other than the 0-4 loss to LA, the worst margin we have lost by in MLS games is two goals.  We have been blown out only once, in a game in which we were, for the most part, competitive. Imagine being TFC, who have lost by five goals to New York Red Bulls, lost one game 6-2 against Philadelphia, and lost two more games 3-0.  8 of the games we have lost have been by a margin of only one goal; two of the nine losses have been by two goals, and one by four .  These facts suggest we have a squad which is strong, but not quite there yet.  What this says to me is that with a few key signings of good players the Whitecaps could be competitive and able to win against any team.

2. The atmosphere at Empire Stadium.  In spite of the poor record the Whitecaps have, going to Empire has been an absolute gas.  I must say, the crowd at Empire has been fantastic and the level of participation by the crowd has been great.   We have not got to the level of Seattle or Portland in terms of fan participation because our fan groups still do not have their act together in terms of organization, but as things stand, the atmosphere has been great at the games.   While I and other season ticket holders have the right to demand the club do better, I will certainly not vote with my feet because I am loving match days with a passion.

3. Remember where we came from.  In the period between 1984 and 2011, soccer was effectively marginalized in Vancouver.  During this period if crowds were at 5,000 at Swangard, it was considered a success.  We now have 19-27,000 fans who are willing to undergo the difficult commute to Empire Field to watch soccer.  This is nothing less than a triumph for soccer in Vancouver, and the realization of the dreams of many of us who endured the fall of the Whitecaps back in 1984.  We have been patient since 1984 so lets give the team a chance to improve; I am convinced they will.

4. It helps to remember where we are going.  I am very optimistic about the switch to BC Place.  While we have been getting good crowds at Empire, I feel the BC Place switch will bring sell outs and a demand to have seats opened in the upper bowl.  The move will bring season ticket holders out of the woodwork who did not want to buy previously because they felt they could not send their clients out to grubby East Vancouver (don’t take it wrong, that’s where I live!) on the SFU bus.   Even though I will have to take the same bus to matches downtown instead of walking to match days as I do now, I can hardly wait to support the ‘Caps downtown.

5. The thrills and chills of the season so far.  Again, while our record is bad, this season has provided some classic unforgetable memories. The first three home matches of the season were nothing less than classics which will be remembered and discussed by those who witnessed them.    The opening day win was fantastic, the come from behind tie against Kansas City was ecstatic, and the heroic draw against New England was a thriller.  There have been some triumphant moments along the way.

6. Eric Hassli.  The big man has provided more news through both his goals and his antics than any other Whitecaps player.  He is fun to watch because he is both a villain and a hero: you are not sure what you are going to get from game to game.  Will he score a goal or get sent off after gooning someone?   Hassli scored the first goal in the Whitecaps new era and also scored one of the great recorded goals in the history of world football against Seattle. This guy is a star and well worth turning up to watch.  Long may he pull on the Whitecaps jersey.

7. The overall quality of the MLS is improving.  I am convinced the standard of play gets better year after year, and having watched more games in the MLS now we are in the league I feel the league is going to move up in its rank in world football.  Some of the teams which have come through town so far, notably FC Dallas, have some serious football players who would not be out of place in sides in the best leagues in the world.  Even if we are losing, some of the football has been a treat to watch just as a purist.

8. Remember we are an expansion franchise.  Sure, other expansion franchises have done and are doing better, but the fact is MLS expansion teams are composed of young draft picks, unprotected cast-offs from other teams, unsigned players, and other such motley types. God bless ’em, but our guys are a bunch of newbies, cast offs and misfits.  We can’t expect them to perform miracles.

9. Front office are serious about success.  In spite of pulling some bone head moves this year, such as replacing coach Teitur Thordarson with Tommy Soehn, I am convinced the ownership and front office of the Whitecaps are committed to success.  If they want to put all doubts aside, however, they need to sign a proven respected coach and sign a high quality creative central midfielder.

Those are the only reasons I can think of, but I have to say I am having a blast this year following the Whitecaps in spite of their poor form.  I am just happy we are in a proper football league with a serious (if unsuccessful so far) football team.

Will I renew my season ticket and continue to support the team I love?

Hell, yes!

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15 Comments »

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  1. ^ +1

  2. Agree whole heartedly. There’s no question I will be renewing.

  3. Don’t forget the enormous quantity of injuries that have hit us this year. I guarantee that would would have had more wins than Portland if we had a consistent backline and if Thorrington had been able to fill the role of the experienced attacking midfielder (as he was expected to). Add to that the red & yellow card situation (some of which were not deserved) and just plain bad luck. All of these things have had a major impact on our record.

  4. I agree on all points. This was a treat to read, compared to the garbage some other Caps bloggers produce. You need to write more!

  5. Don’t speak too soon, if you think the Front Office has made some bone head decisions so far, wait until you hear who the next head coach is…………watch this space

    • What an interesting reply…

      • its the former head coach of the carolina railhawks. I fforget his first name but his last name is renney

      • martin renney

      • actually I misspelled his name its martin rennie

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_Rennie

  6. Man! It’s sad to be reduced to calls for continued support when the Club has been so successful in the past. I really hope we can recapture our winning ways soon.

    The only point I don’t agree with is your boosting of corporate ticket sales, the may help the club, but corporate sale, particularly when they are in the lower bowl, kill any sort of atmosphere.

    • I hear you, Cheeky monkey, but, like a missionary, I believe we can convert such people!

  7. Excellent piece. Keep up the good work. What does cd know? I can’t wait to hear. Or, maybe I can…

  8. I see the second coming of the Vancouver grizzlies. We won our first two games, sell outs first two years, poor results, curiosity fades within a city where basketball was strong and who produced a NBA MVP (something we have never come close in soccer). If management keep soehn after this season then they are not serious.To use excuses like injuries, luck to gloss over the fact that Portland,Seattle,Philly to name a few are just simply better organizationsin everyway is delusional. Indeed the end by year three the curiosity will be gone and the fans back down to 5000 a game which will eventualy kill the whitecaps after thirty years. So unless management drops soehn shows some humility and tries to really learn from Seattle and Portland I unfortunately see this as a very real possibility

    • Now there’s a positive soul…

      Dunc


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