Take soccer to next level - The Vancouver Sun

Waterfront stadium proposal is vital for future of game in this province

Letter

Re: Soccer Stadium a Gift Spurned (April 23):

As the provincial governing body for soccer in British Columbia, the B.C. Soccer Association is certainly committed to the promotion and development of our game. It is our modus operandi.

It is thus only natural that we strongly support the proposed Whitecaps Waterfront Stadium project on behalf of the more than 130,000 registered players, coaches and officials engaged in soccer and the half-million British Columbians directly connected to the sport through their families.

Yet our support and advocacy for the proposed stadium only grows when we see what has happened in Toronto (with the launch of Toronto FC of the MLS at BMO Field) and now Montreal (with the opening this month of brand new Saputo Stadium, home of the Montreal Impact of the USL).

The positive impact of those stadia on soccer development in Ontario and Quebec has already been significant and will continue to fuel the growth of the game in those provinces. More and more young people -- of all ages -- will be drawn to soccer as a game high on fitness, socialization and other life skills.

That's good for Ontario, it's good for Quebec and it's ultimately good for Canada. But we can safely say the impact of a professional soccer stadium project in Vancouver would be even more profound here in B.C., where the BCSA is working with its districts, leagues and clubs and the Government of British Columbia (through ActNow) to promote the benefits of active living and fitness for children and for all residents of B.C.

We already have the highest per capita participation numbers in Canada. We are "The Province of Soccer" and we would be building on strength here to take soccer to the next level.

We lend our support to the project and we strongly concur with the views expressed, that such a stadium would be a powerful community amenity and would generate significant community benefits, in downtown Vancouver and across the province.

Bjorn Osieck
Executive Director
British Columbia Soccer Association

© The Vancouver Sun 2008