Vancouver Whitecaps (1974–84)

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This article is about the defunct Vancouver Whitecaps team from the North American Soccer League. For the MLS team, see Vancouver Whitecaps FC. For the former USL team, see Vancouver Whitecaps (1986–2010).
Vancouver Whitecaps
Vancouver Whitecaps
Full name Vancouver Whitecaps
Nickname(s) The 'Caps
Founded December 11, 1973[1]
Dissolved 1984; 30 years ago (1984)
Stadium Empire Stadium (1974–1983)
BC Place (1983–1984)
(NASL Indoor)
Pacific Coliseum (1980–81, 1983–84)
PNE Agrodome (1981–1982)
Stadium
capacity
30,000 (Empire)
60,000 (BC Place)
16,000 (Coliseum)
3,200 (Agrodome)
League NASL

The original Vancouver Whitecaps were a professional soccer team founded on December 11, 1973. During the 1970s and 1980s they played in the North American Soccer League (NASL). The Whitecaps achieved success, winning the 1979 Soccer Bowl. The Whitecaps of that era included international players such as Alan Ball, but also "home grown" stars like Bobby and Sam Lenarduzzi, Buzz Parsons, and Glen Johnson. In 1979, the team from the "Village of Vancouver" (a reference to ABC TV sportscaster Jim McKay's observation that "Vancouver must be like the deserted village right now", with so many people watching the game on TV) beat the powerhouse New York Cosmos in one of the most thrilling playoff series in NASL history to advance to the Soccer Bowl. In the Soccer Bowl, they triumphed against the Tampa Bay Rowdies before a disappointed Giants Stadium crowd of 50,699 (66,843 tickets had been sold for the game).[2]

It was during this short period that soccer interest peaked in Vancouver. The Whitecaps attendance at Empire Stadium grew to regular sellouts, at 32,000. The team also recorded two tracks, with "White is the Colour" becoming a hit on local radio during the run-up to their championship win.

After playing at Vancouver's 32,000-seat Empire Stadium for most of their existence, the team moved into the brand new 60,000-seat BC Place Stadium in 1983.

The team played indoor soccer on and off during their existence. The Pacific Coliseum served as the home field for their 1980–81 and 1983–84 NASL indoor seasons. However for the 1981–82 indoor season the Whitecaps used the much smaller PNE Agrodome, as the Pacific Coliseum became unavailable.[3]

With the subsequent demise of the NASL in 1984 the Whitecaps, along with many other teams in the NASL, were forced to fold.

Year-by-year[edit]

Original NASL Whitecaps Logo.
Year League W L T Pts Reg. Season Playoffs
1974 NASL 5 11 4 70 4th, Western Division Did not qualify
1975 NASL indoor 1 1 2 2nd, Region 4 Did not qualify
1975 NASL 11 11 99 4th, Western Division Did not qualify
1976 NASL indoor 0 2 0 4th, West Regional Did not qualify
1976 NASL 14 10 120 3rd, Pacific Conference, Western Division Lost 1st Round (Seattle)
1977 NASL 14 12 124 2nd, Pacific Conference, Western Division Lost Division Championship (Seattle)
1978 NASL 24 6 199 1st, National Conference, Western Division Won 1st Round (Toronto)
Lost Conference Semifinal (Portland)
1979 NASL 20 10 172 1st, National Conference, Western Division Won Conference Quarterfinal (Dallas)
Won Conference Semifinal (Los Angeles)
Won Conference Championship (New York)
Won Soccer Bowl '79 (Tampa Bay)
1979/80 NASL Indoor Did not enter
1980 NASL 16 16 139 3rd, National Conference, Western Division Lost 1st Round (Seattle)
1980/81 NASL Indoor 11 7 1st, Northern Division Won 1st Round (California)
Lost Semifinal (Edmonton)
1981 NASL 21 11 186 1st, Northwest Division Lost 1st Round (Tampa Bay)
1981/82 NASL Indoor 10 8 2nd, National Conference, Northwest Division Lost 1st Round (San Diego)
1982 NASL 20 12 160 3rd, Western Division Lost 1st Round (San Diego)
1982/83 NASL Indoor Season cancelled
1983 NASL 24 6 187 1st, Western Division Lost 1st Round (Toronto)
1983/84 NASL Indoor 12 20 5th Did not qualify
1984 NASL 13 11 117 2nd, Western Division Lost Semifinal (Chicago)

Honours[edit]

Statistics[edit]

Attendance[edit]

The record home attendance for a Whitecaps game was on June 20, 1983. 60,342 came to watch the caps take on the Seattle Sounders in the first game at BC Place Stadium. It was also the largest crowd to ever see a club soccer match in Canada until the Montreal Impact surpassed the mark with 60,860 on May 12, 2012.

Average yearly attendance[edit]

  • 1974 10,098
  • 1975 7,579
  • 1976 8,656
  • 1977 11,897
  • 1978 15,724
  • 1979 22,962
  • 1980 26,834
  • 1981 23,236
  • 1982 18,251
  • 1983 29,164
  • 1984 15,208

Notable former players[edit]

References[edit]

See also[edit]