Vancouver Whitecaps FC
|Founded||March 18, 2009[nb 1]|
|Stadium||BC Place, Vancouver[nb 2]|
|Sporting director||Axel Schuster|
|League||Major League Soccer|
|2021||Western Conference: 6th|
Playoffs: First round
Vancouver Whitecaps FC is a Canadian professional soccer team based in Vancouver. The Whitecaps FC compete in Major League Soccer (MLS) as a member club of the league's Western Conference. The club was established on March 18, 2009, and began play in 2011 as the 17th team to enter Major League Soccer and replaced the USSF Division 2 team of the same name in the city. The club has been owned and managed by the same group since their USSF days, having graduated to MLS after the conclusion of the USSF's 2010 season. The MLS version of the team is a phoenix club, and the third to carry the legacy of the Whitecaps name. In the 2012 season, the team became the first Canadian team to qualify for the MLS Cup Playoffs.
An ownership group in Vancouver were granted the seventeenth Major League Soccer franchise on March 18, 2009, by MLS Commissioner Don Garber. While no name was provided at the Vancouver announcement, over a year later the club confirmed it would keep the Whitecaps name.
In preparation for its first MLS season, the Whitecaps brought in executive talent from around the world. On November 24, 2009, Paul Barber, former Tottenham Hotspur F.C. executive, was announced to join the club as CEO. Others joining him included former D.C. United head coach Tom Soehn as Director of Operations and Dutch national Richard Grootscholten as the Technical Director and head coach of the residency program.
As the head coach of the USL and later USSF Division 2 Vancouver Whitecaps, former Iceland international Teitur Thordarson was confirmed as head coach on September 2, 2010, for the inaugural MLS season. He was subsequently relieved of his duties on May 30, 2011, after the Whitecaps won just one of their first twelve matches. Tom Soehn, the Whitecaps director of soccer operations, replaced Thordarson on an interim basis.
The Whitecaps began play in the 2011 MLS season with their first match on March 19, 2011, against rival Canadians Toronto FC, which they won 4–2. The first goal in the Whitecaps' MLS era was scored by Eric Hassli. After their winning start the Whitecaps struggled, and failed to secure another victory in their next 11 MLS games, drawing six and losing five. In the aftermath of their 1–1 draw with the New York Red Bulls on May 30 head coach Teitur Thordarson was fired. Tom Soehn took over coaching duties for the remainder of the 2011 season, while Martin Rennie was announced as the new permanent head coach on August 9, taking over officially on November 2.
On March 3, 2012, the Whitecaps won their first minor, pre-season cup at the 2012 Walt Disney World Pro Soccer Classic defeating Toronto FC 1–0 thanks to a goal by Camilo Sanvezzo. The Whitecaps finished the regular season with 11 wins, 3 losses, and 10 ties positioning the club, 5th in the Western Conference and 11th on the league overall table. On October 21, 2012, the Whitecaps became the first Canadian team to earn a spot in the MLS playoffs. Vancouver were eliminated in the knockout round.
In the 2013 season, Vancouver finished in 7th in the Western Conference, 13th in the league table with 13 wins, 12 losses, and 9 ties in the regular season. They were not able to qualify for the post season, in the playoffs as they had accomplished in the season prior. Two days after the end of the 2013 MLS regular season, Rennie's contract was not renewed sparking a search for the next head coach. In their off-season, the Whitecaps were in the midst of controversy with one of their then players, Camilo, who had played for the team since their inaugural campaign, after the Brazilian went on to join Liga MX club Querétaro. The Mexican club believed that he was no longer under contract, while the Whitecaps reported that he was still on a contract with Vancouver. The scandal was resolved with the Liga MX club paying a transfer fee from Vancouver to acquire the Brazilian forward.
In October 2014, the Whitecaps qualified for the 2015–16 CONCACAF Champions League for the very first time as a result of becoming the highest ranked Canadian team in the 2014 MLS season and due to a reformatting of the Canadian Championship in the following season. A week later they qualified for the MLS playoffs for the second time, an achievement unmatched by any Canadian team.
Colours and badge
On June 8, 2010, it was officially announced the club would continue using the "Whitecaps" name, but with a redesigned logo. The name alludes to the geographic features surrounding the city: snow-capped mountains to the north and the Pacific Ocean's white-capped waves to the west.
The official club colours include navy blue ("deep sea"), white, and light blue ("Whitecaps blue"). The "deep sea" blue represents the maritime landscape of the Vancouver area and the "Whitecaps blue" indicates the reflection of the North Shore Mountains in the Pacific Ocean. The lighter shade of blue also alludes to the primary colour of the original Whitecaps, winners of Soccer Bowl 1979. The silver outline pays homage to the team's championship victories since 1974.
On June 10, 2010, the Whitecaps strip package was unveiled with Bell Canada serving as the inaugural jersey sponsor. The home shirt is white with horizontal, navy blue pinstripes; the stripes broaden slightly from bottom to top. The secondary shirt is deep blue with an embossed, interlocking diamond pattern which is also deep blue and is reflective in the light.
On June 14, 2012, the Whitecaps unveiled a third kit. The third kit is predominantly "arbutus brown", with sky blue accents, which reflects the unique land full of deep roots and the high-reaching arms of the temperate rainforests of British Columbia.
Home, away, and third kits.
|Period||Kit manufacturer||Shirt sponsor|
The Whitecaps plays its home matches at BC Place in Vancouver, which it shares with the BC Lions of the Canadian Football League. Vancouver has played at BC Place since the final month of the 2011 MLS season, having spent the majority of that year at Empire Field.
BC Place is a 54,500-seat multi-purpose stadium designed for both Canadian football and soccer. The stadium opened in 1983, but underwent a complete two-phase revitalization project between 2009 and 2011. The stadium now features the largest cable-supported retractable roof in the world and polytan artificial turf, which is certified by FIFA with a 2-star rating. The Whitecaps reduce the stadium's capacity to 22,120 for matches by using white sails (known as the "secondary roof") to close off the upper bowl. Club ownership initially hoped to build Whitecaps Waterfront Stadium in Gastown in time for the 2016 season, but the club has committed to BC Place in light of stadium opposition.
The club played most of its inaugural season at Empire Field, a temporary stadium built at the former site of Empire Stadium to house the Whitecaps and the BC Lions while BC Place was being renovated. Empire Field was a 27,500-seat multi-purpose stadium that featured FIFA 1-star rated FieldTurf. The team played its final match at Empire Field on September 24, 2011, a 3–1 loss to Seattle Sounders FC. The following week, the Whitecaps played their first match at BC Place, a 1–0 loss to Portland Timbers on October 2, 2011.
The club does not have a permanent training facility, opting instead to use facilities around Greater Vancouver. However, the club partnered with the Government of British Columbia and the University of British Columbia (UBC) to build a $32.5 million National Soccer Development Centre on the UBC campus, which opened on September 22, 2017.
Near the end of the 2020 and at the beginning of the 2021 seasons, the club was forced to play their home matches in the United States due to the Canadian government's response to limit cross-border travel during the COVID-19 pandemic. The club shared facilities with Portland Timbers Providence Park in Portland, Oregon where they would play one of their rivalry matches as the home team. In 2021, the club would play most of their home matches at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah since the start of the season.
The largest Whitecaps supporters group is known as the Southsiders. The group began in 1999 when fans of the Vancouver 86ers began congregating in the pitch-level beer garden behind the goal at the south end of Swangard Stadium.
The Southsiders' relationship with the team's ownership has not always been amicable. It has evolved since Vancouver received the MLS expansion team. Images of the Southsiders are featured prominently in Whitecaps' marketing campaigns. The group's board was invited to the invite-only launch of the kits and logo to be used in MLS. The expansion has also increased membership to over 1200. The president of the organization said that it had grown from about 40 paid members to 100 paid in July 2010. He also believes there is no reason why the Southsiders cannot outdo the Seattle Sounders' Emerald City Supporters. Southsider supporters were primarily located in the southeast corner (sections 249–254) of B.C. Place stadium. The majority of the group has relocated to the new general admission section at BC Place in half of section 253 and all of section 254 that was introduced for the 2020 MLS season.
The three biggest supporter groups are the Vancouver Southhsiders, Curva Collective and the Rain City Brigade. There are several sub-groups that have emerged, members of which are sometimes also members of the three larger groups.
Founded after the 2011 season, Curva Collective is a movement of like-minded supporters joined in their passion and support of Vancouver Whitecaps FC and its players. What unites them is a love for the ‘Caps. The group works collectively to support in meaningful and quality ways because "we know together we can achieve more than on our own". Their motto's are: We are who we are, Giving our all and Support is always. With a focus on visual displays and vocal unity in half of section 253 and all of section 254, the new supporters general admissions section at BC Place. Curva Collective was previously located in sections 203 and 204 or the southwest curva.
Rain City Brigade was established in 2010 when a group of friends, who all followed the Whitecaps, decided to get together and create a group to formally support the team in a way that was true to them. What started out as a way for a couple of friends to hang out, drink beer and watch the sport we all love, soon became the social events that many look forward to every Whitecaps game day. They are passionate supporters from all walks of life, and from all corners of the world, ready to give their all for the full 90+ minutes to support the Whitecaps, win, lose or draw. The group quickly attracted like-minded individuals and after a few seasons plus a couple of different stadiums, the group has grown to almost two-hundred members over the past three years. The Rain City Brigade has a block of about 225 season tickets for their members in section 201 and marches from Library Square.
The Prawnsiders have existed since the Whitecaps' Swangard years, but organized formally at the beginning of the inaugural MLS season in 2011. The name "Prawnsiders" comes from "prawn-sandwich brigade", a term often used to describe soccer supporters who sit in the more expensive seats. The Prawnsiders formed because they wanted to create an equally enthusiastic supporter experience for those fans who didn't want to be behind the nets. They are primarily located in sections 244 and 245.
South Sisters provide a positive meeting space for Vancouver Whitecaps supporters who identify as female, LGBTQ2+, or allies. The group was officially formed in 2019. They show that soccer supporters come in all shapes and sizes and that big hearts bring loud voices, and loud voices are what our players need to get a goal and win games. South Sisters are an inclusive group so any Whitecaps supporters can partake in our kind of support regardless of where they sit, how many games they attend, or if they are a Prawnsider, Casual, Southsider, Kevinsider, Curva, RCB, Couch Ultra, Pigeon Casual etc. Their mandate is to support the players and fans, on and off the pitch. Goal: We are here to be change makers in the systemic treatment of people who identify as female and LGBTQ2+ in the soccer community through thoughtful conversation and education.
Couch Ultras were officially formed in 2017. Their group's name comes from the fact that they started supporting the Whitecaps from the couch. They set-up their basement with banners and tifos for away games to best create the game day atmosphere from home. The group makes use of a tifo rigging system in their basement to uniquely display their tifo's. Couch Ultras are active at BC Place for home Whitecaps games as well. The group has done various small scale tifo displays at BC Place. Couch Ultras also support both the Canadian Men's and Women's National Soccer Team.
Vancouver Albion is the newest out of the supporters groups. The group's name comes from when a group of friends, aged 14, decided to create a club on the video game FIFA 20. There was little names available, so Vancouver Albion was selected. It was then pointed out that Albion, refers to a group of people in UK, deeming the name to make no sense for a group of Vancouverites. From then on, it became an inside joke, and the name stuck. When these same friends decided to start a supporters group together, there was only one name that it could be. They are the only entirely youth supporters group, and have expanded to 15 members in just their first season at BC Place. They sit in Section 254.
In 2020, a new general admissions supporters section was introduced in half of Section 253 and all of Section 254, right beside the tunnel where the players enter the pitch. You don't need to be a member of a supporter group to be in the section and seating is unassigned, so you can stand where you want, with who you want. The majority of the Vancouver Southsiders and Curva Collective are located here. Standing and chanting are permitted throughout the match in this' section.
The team sold the first 5,000 $50 season ticket deposits 48 hours after they became available to the public. Remaining season tickets were made available to season ticket holders for the USSF 2 Whitecaps before becoming available to non-season ticket holders. The team managed to attract 15,500 season ticket holders in its first MLS season and 13,000 for the second.
Former Group: "La Doce", formed in January 2011. Their original name in Spanish is "La 12", which can be translated into English as "The 12th" or "The 12th player". La 12 is formed by people from different nationalities that have a preference to support the Whitecaps in a Latin American, Southern European or Eastern European Style. The main feature of La 12 is its cheering style that features constant drumming and longer songs, resembling the way in which fans in South America or Southern or Eastern Europe like to support. La 12 fans were primarily seated in the southeast corner of Empire Field. The group has since folded after the 2011 season with many members joining Curva Collective.
Many Whitecaps supporters have friendly relationships with the Timbers Army away from the game, but a fierce rivalry at match time. This has stemmed from a mutual animosity with supporters of the Seattle Sounders in the three-way Cascadia Cup. There is also a friendship with Grimsby Town supporters owing to a mix-up of hashtags on twitter in 2015 and the player Trevor Whymark, who has played for both teams.
The Vancouver Whitecaps have longstanding rivalries with both the Portland Timbers and Seattle Sounders FC. The rivalries predate MLS and have been an integral part of the soccer culture in the Pacific Northwest. Matches between these three teams are arguably the most passionate in all of MLS as each of these teams are well-supported by their respective cities.
The Portland Timbers are one of the Whitecaps' biggest and longtime rivals, with an antagonistic history between the clubs going back to 1975 in the original North American Soccer League. In the A-League and USL First Division Portland and Vancouver clashed in crucial, and often physical matches during the late 2000s, with the clubs facing each other in memorable playoff duels in 2007, 2009, and 2010. The two clubs played for the 100th time in 2017, and the rivalry is one of the most-played in US soccer history.
The Vancouver Whitecaps also have rivalries with Toronto FC and the CF Montreal. Vancouver's first game in MLS was against Toronto in an attempt by the league to spur a rivalry between the two Canadian teams. Montreal was a rival in the second division. The three teams have played each other during Voyageurs Cup competitions.
All Whitecaps matches are broadcast on television and radio. Through the 2013 season, Sportsnet Pacific and Sportsnet One nationally broadcast all "regional" Whitecaps games not televised by TSN or TSN2 as part of its national package of MLS games, broadcasting 24 games per season. Regional matches were called by Craig MacEwen, who does play-by-play, and former Vancouver 86ers goalkeeper Paul Dolan, who provides colour commentary. Dolan replaced former Vancouver Whitecaps midfielder Martin Nash, who provided colour commentary during the Whitecaps FC inaugural season. In January 2014, TSN (which is owned by Bell Media, a subsidiary of the Whitecaps' founding sponsor Bell Canada) announced that it would take over broadcast rights to these "regional" Whitecaps games beginning in the 2014 Major League Soccer season. In 2014, selected games aired on CIVT-DT and CIVI-DT due to scheduling conflicts.
On radio, Whitecaps games are primarily broadcast on AM 730. Until the end of the 2016 season, matches broadcast on radio has play-by-play duties shared between Peter Schaad and Scott Rintoul, and by former Vancouver Whitecaps midfielder David Norman, who provides colour commentary. Norman replaced Paul Dolan prior to the 2012 MLS season, after Dolan joined the Sportsnet broadcasting team.
Vancouver Whitecaps FC is owned by a group of four investors; Greg Kerfoot, Steve Luczo, Jeff Mallett, and Steve Nash. The group has a collective net worth over $2 billion. Kerfoot has been the majority owner of the Whitecaps since 2002, when he saved the club from contraction after previous owner David Stadnyk left the club, selling it to United Soccer Leagues. He was previously the chairman and chief executive officer (CEO) of Crystal Decisions. Mallett, a former chief operating officer (COO) of Yahoo!, who was raised in Victoria, British Columbia, has a significant background in soccer. He played for the British Columbia under-16 provincial team and was on the University of Victoria Vikes squad that lost in the final of the 1982 CIS Men's Soccer Championship. He also spent one year with the San Francisco State University Gators men's soccer team before an injury left him unable to continue playing competitive soccer. After leaving Yahoo!, Mallett purchased a minority stakes in the San Francisco Giants of Major League Baseball and English soccer club Derby County F.C.. Having first met at a charity soccer event in 2005, Mallett partnered with Steve Nash—a two-time National Basketball Association (NBA) Most Valuable Player who was also raised in Victoria—to put together a bid for a minority share of English soccer club Tottenham Hotspur F.C. in 2008. After that transaction fell through, the duo contacted Kerfoot about a minority stake in the club. Nash is the older brother of former Whitecaps midfielder Martin Nash. The fourth partner, Steve Luczo, is the president, chairman, and CEO of Seagate Technology and a partner in Boston Basketball Partners L.L.C., a group who own the NBA Boston Celtics. Luczo met Kerfoot while the two were both employed by Seagate Technology, and Kerfoot contacted Luczo proposing he become part of the club's MLS bid. In 2009, the group paid a $35 million expansion fee to MLS for the right to join the league.
Current players and staff
- For details on former players, see All-time Vancouver Whitecaps FC roster.
- As of January 21, 2022
|1||GK||Thomas Hasal (HG)||Canada|
|9||FW||Lucas Cavallini (DP)||Canada|
|12||GK||Evan Newton||United States|
|14||FW||Theo Bair (HG)||Canada|
|24||FW||Brian White||United States|
|25||MF||Ryan Gauld (DP)||Scotland|
|27||MF||Ryan Raposo (GA)||Canada|
|28||DF||Jake Nerwinski||United States|
|30||FW||Kamron Habibullah (HG)||Canada|
|31||MF||Russell Teibert (HG)||Canada|
|34||DF||Gianfranco Facchineri (HG)||Canada|
|55||MF||Michael Baldisimo (HG)||Canada|
|61||DF||Matteo Campagna (HG)||Canada|
|—||DF||Tristan Blackmon||United States|
Out on loan
|13||DF||Derek Cornelius (at Panetolikos)||Canada|
|19||MF||Janio Bikel (at Vicenza)||Portugal|
|54||MF||Simon Colyn (HG; at Jong PSV)||Canada|
|62||MF||Damiano Pecile (HG; at Venezia)||Canada|
- As of November 30, 2021
|Head coach||Vanni Sartini||Italy|
|Assistant coach||Ricardo Clark||United States|
|Goalkeeper coach||Youssef Dahha||Morocco|
|Staff coach||Steve Meadley||England|
|First team video analyst||Luke Summers||England|
|First team assistant video analyst||Drew Foster||Canada|
|Sporting director||Axel Schuster||Germany|
|Vice president, soccer operations||Greg Anderson||Canada|
|Community liaison||Craig Dalrymple||England|
|Head of football administration||Joe Jesseau||Canada|
|Head of operations & facilities||Ed Georgica||Canada|
Former players and staff
|September 1, 2010 – May 30, 2011||Teitur Thordarson||Iceland|
|May 30, 2011 – October 25, 2011||Tom Soehn (interim)||United States|
|October 26, 2011 – October 29, 2013||Martin Rennie||Scotland|
|December 16, 2013 – September 25, 2018||Carl Robinson||Wales|
|September 25, 2018 – November 7, 2018||Craig Dalrymple (interim)||England|
|November 7, 2018 – August 27, 2021||Marc Dos Santos||Canada|
|August 27, 2021 – November 30, 2021||Vanni Sartini (interim)||Italy|
|November 30, 2021 – present||Vanni Sartini||Italy|
|2011–2014||Jay DeMerit||United States|
|2017–2018||Kendall Waston||Costa Rica|
Whitecaps FC 2
Whitecaps FC 2 was the farm club of the Vancouver Whitecaps that was established on November 21, 2014. Whitecaps FC 2 began competing in the 2015 season, in the USL. On November 27, 2017, the Whitecaps dissolved their reserve side in favour of affiliating with 2018 expansion club Fresno FC. The Whitecaps will field a team, likely named the Whitecaps 2 (however, the team name has yet to be confirmed), in the newly established MLS Next Pro league, commencing in 2022.
Whitecaps FC Academy
Whitecaps FC Academy, formerly known as the Whitecaps Residency program, is the youth academy and development system of Vancouver Whitecaps FC that was established in 2007. The academy will field at team in League1 British Columbia, commencing in 2022.
- Winners: 2013, 2014, 2016
Previous incarnations of Whitecaps FC
Vancouver 86ers/Vancouver Whitecaps (1986–2010)
Vancouver Whitecaps (1974–1984)
- Winners: 1979
This is a partial list of the last five seasons completed by the Whitecaps. For the full season-by-season history, see List of Vancouver Whitecaps FC seasons. For a historical list encompassing results from the previous two incarnations of the club, see History of Vancouver Whitecaps FC.
|Season||League||Position||Playoffs||CC||Continental / Other||Average attendance||Top goalscorer(s)|
|2016||1||MLS||34||10||15||9||45||52||–7||39||1.15||8th||16th||DNQ||RU||CONCACAF Champions League||SF||22,330||Pedro Morales||9|
|2020||MLS||23||9||14||0||27||44||–17||27||1.17||9th||17th||DNQ||MLS is Back Tournament||Ro16||22,120||Lucas Cavallini||6|
^ 1. Avg. Attendance include statistics from league matches only.
^ 2. Top Goalscorer(s) includes all goals scored in League, MLS Cup Playoffs, Canadian Championship, MLS is Back Tournament, CONCACAF Champions League, FIFA Club World Cup, and other competitive continental matches.
CONCACAF Champions League
Vancouver has qualified for the CONCACAF Champions League twice, the first in the 2015–16 edition of the tournament.
|2015–16||Group stage||Seattle Sounders FC||1–1||0–3||1–4|
|2016–17||Group stage||Central F.C.||4–1||1–0||5–1|
|Sporting Kansas City||3–0||2–1||5–1|
|Quarterfinals||New York Red Bulls||2–0||1–1||3–1|
- Group stage v. Manchester City – 1–2
Player records and awards
Note: Only MLS regular season goals counted
|2||Defender||Jordan Harvey||United States||2011–17||179||4||12||4||199|
|5||Defender||Kendall Waston||Costa Rica||2014–18||115||6||8||8||137|
|6||Defender||Jake Nerwinski||United States||2017–||117||4||8||2||131|
|8||Forward||Erik Hurtado||United States||2013–18||105||1||12||5||123|
- As of November 24, 2021
Bolded players are currently on the Whitecaps FC roster.
|4||Forward||Fredy Montero||Colombia||2017, 2019–20||26||1||0||1||28|
|8||Forward||Erik Hurtado||United States||2013–18||12||1||2||2||17|
|Forward||Kei Kamara||Sierra Leone||2018||14||–||3||–||17|
- As of November 11, 2020
Bolded players are currently on the Whitecaps FC roster.
- As of May 7, 2021, MLS regular season only
- Appearances: Russell Teibert (187)
- Goals: Camilo (39)
- Assists: Pedro Morales (22)
- Hat tricks
- Wins: David Ousted (55)
- Shutouts (clean sheets): David Ousted (42)
Player of the year
|2012||Lee Young-Pyo||South Korea|
|2015||Kendall Waston||Costa Rica|
|2016||Jordan Harvey||United States|
|2017||Kendall Waston||Costa Rica|
- MLS franchise granted in 2009. Original team founded in 1974.
- As a result of COVID-19 cross-border restrictions imposed by the Canadian government, Vancouver Whitecaps FC temporary played home matches at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah at the start of the 2021 season
- Expandable to 54,313 based on configuration.
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And to create a more intimate and electric atmosphere, a flexible draping system is being considered that will reduce the seating capacity to 22,000.
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