Whitecapsfanblog reaches 100,000 views!October 25, 2013 at 9:26 am | Posted in General Football, Vancouver Whitecaps, Whitecaps Season 2013 | 4 Comments
Tags: BCsoccerweb.com, Bob Lenarduzzi, Greg Kerfoot, new york cosmos, Vancouver Whitecaps, Whitecaps history
Ok, ok, I know it would be small potatoes to some, but I am happy about it nonetheless. Whitecapsfanblog started in 2006 as a pro Whitecaps Waterfront Stadium blog and then branched out to deal with all issues surrounding the Vancouver Whitecaps. The reach of whitecapsfanblog is as global as the game of footy itself, according to the stats provided by WordPress, the blog’s host.
Whitecapsfanblog has no commercial aspect as far as its author is concerned, and is done strictly as a hobby in my spare time. It is fuelled by my passion for the Vancouver Whitecaps, which began after watching the Whitecaps win the second leg of the semi-final of the NASL playoffs against the New York Cosmos in 1979. I was fourteen years old. That match was the greatest match in the history of the NASL, and arguably one of the greatest football matches ever played.
I have English blood, but being the first member of the family born in Canada, I took to hockey early in life. By winning the 1979 NASL soccer Bowl, the Vancouver Whitecaps awakened the Englishman inside me and so began my love of watching football aka “soccer”. The fact the majority of Whitecaps coaches and players spoke with English accents and sounded like a family gathering over in England helped matters.
Not only did the Whitecaps get me watching soccer, but playing it as well. I still play twice a week and it is still my favourite form of exercise. There is no doubt about it: the Vancouver Whitecaps changed my life for the better.
I have lived through three eras of the Vancouver Whitecaps, the 1974-84 North American Soccer League era, the 2000-2010 United Soccer Leagues era and the current MLS era. During the USL days, when the Whitecaps would play in front of 2500 -4500 or so at little old Swangard Stadium in Burnaby, I dreamed the Whitecaps would get back to where they belonged at a higher level of professional soccer. At that time, while skepticism about whether soccer would ever succeed in North America reigned supreme, Major League Soccer itself was struggling, having contracted as a league. It all looked very gloomy indeed, but my friends, family and I kept the flame going in the Southside of Swangard Stadium.
Luckily Bob Lenarduzzi kept the flame going too, and Bobby is the person who had the vision, passion and leadership to keep some form of professional football going in Vancouver through the lean years, especially in 2002 when the USL had to take over the running of the Whitecaps, who were ownerless and again on the verge of extinction. Luckily current owner Greg Kerfoot saw the growth potential of a brand that was hitting rock bottom.
Thanks to the likes of Kerfoot and Lenarduzzi, here we are today, the Whitecaps are thriving in a league which is itself taking off, and a whole new generation of young people has joined us old fogeys in embracing the Whitecaps in their hearts. Vancouver fans, through the efforts of the Southsiders, are learning that supporting a football team is about participation, not sitting on your hands. Fans of other MLS teams have also learned this, and the game day experience has improved immeasurably because of it.
I have had some struggles adjusting to the new era: I find the uniforms and logo to be substandard and boring; I am a staunch traditionalist for the uniform worn from 1978-1984 which was echoed in the years 2000-2010. I have the usual grumbles fans have about the strength of the players on the team and of the Coach and management. But these are the luxuries of those who actually have a team to grumble about.
What has also expanded is the number of people blogging and writing about the Whitecaps. When I started, I was one of a mere handful of people writing about the Whitecaps, though the Southsiders forum was going strong.
Now the Sun and Province, which used to donate very little space to the Whitecaps in the USL days, now have two or three writers on the go at once. It is quite a turnaround.
I would like to thank Richard Howes for posting my articles on his excellent site BCSoccerweb.com which has been heroically serving the local soccer scene for years now. I would also like to thank all of the readers and those who left comments on the blog (the constructive ones, anyways!).
Here’s to the next 100,000 views, and to thousands more Vancouver Whitecaps games.