Toffeemen don't stick with 'Caps - The Province


BY MARC WEBER

Not that he needs reminding, but Bob Lenarduzzi has again made keenly aware of the impact the $31.5-million soccer centre in Delta will have on his Vancouver Whitecaps -- and the local soccer community in general.

English FA Cup finalists Everton had explored coming to Vancouver for a week-long camp and friendly match this summer. Lack of appropriate training facilities quickly scuttled talks, according to the Caps president.

"What we have is the lure of a beautiful city," Lenarduzzi said, "but when you're talking about a preseason camp, you have to have the facilities. Teams want to come here -- world-class teams."

Everton-- nicknamed the Toffeemen, reportedly for a candy store near the stadium -- will be taking on the MLS all-stars July 29 in Salt Lake City.

Seattle could become home base for Everton, as the revamped Starfire Sports Complex has the grass field and privacy required by the big club.

Swangard Stadium, run by the City of Burnaby, was likely the only option for Everton in the Lower Mainland.

Lenarduzzi hopes the seven-field national soccer development centre in Delta will be ready by late 2010 as the Whitecaps head into the MLS.

The team will play at B.C. Place stadium, which will undergo $365 million in renovations before 2011.

The Sounders will lay sod over the Qwest Field artificial turf for games against Chelsea and Barcelona this summer. The Whitecaps would do the same for big games at B.C. Place.

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