Dear Vancouver Whitecaps: Don’t forget the Vancouver Royal Canadians!

February 3, 2014 at 10:33 pm | Posted in Vancouver Whitecaps, Whitecaps season 2014 | 5 Comments

I hate to be “Hector the Corrector” but, in their enthusiasm to celebrate their 40th anniversary, the Whitecaps have made a bit of an error on their Web Page in their story entitled “the day it all began”.  The page refers to the Vancouver Whitecaps – San Jose Earthquakes match of May 5, 1974 as “…the first professional soccer match Vancouver had ever seen”.

In fact, Sunderland AFC played professional football in Vancouver as the Vancouver Royal Canadians in 1967, coached by none other than England legend Bobby Robson:  In 1968 The Vancouver Royals played a season in the North American Soccer League coached by none other than Hungarian Legend Ferenc Puskas, one of the finest footballers in the history of football.  The Royals played in Empire Stadium.  

It is also interesting to note that Colin Todd, an English professional played for the Vancouver Royal Canadians in 1967 and for the Vancouver Whitecaps in 1984, the last year of the old North American Soccer League. 

I would be interested in knowing if any historians out there are aware of any previous professional football being played in Vancouver before the Vancouver Royal Canadians.  



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  1. How about the 86 ers? This whole 40th anniversary thing is just silly really

    • You are right, Colin. Just ask Tony Waiters if the Vancouver 86ers were a continuation of the Vancouver Whitecaps, if you dare! The 86ers were a completely different team. For some reason the Whitecaps have swallowed up the 86ers history and called it their own. I want to celebrate Whitecaps history but lets get the facts straight… The Whitecaps arose again in 2000 when David Stadnyk bought the right to use the name again from John Laxton.

  2. I saw a Vancouver Royals game at empire stadium in 1968 in which Puskas substituted himself into the game……I recall that he still had some tricky moves in front of goal.

    • Thanks so much for sharing this wonderful memory. Not many know that Puskas, an undisputed football legend, not only coached here but played for Vancouver!

  3. Intetesting article thanks! As for the whitecaps just more soviet style rewriting of history from backward looking-living-in-the-past Lenarduzzi.

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