Whitecaps FC to host English Premier League club Manchester City FC

EPL giants Manchester City to visit Vancouver

New and existing season ticket holders to receive bonus ticket for the international match

VANCOUVER, BC – Vancouver Whitecaps FC announced today that they will host storied English Premier League (EPL) side Manchester City FC on Monday, July 18, at 7 p.m. PT on Bell Pitch at Empire Field as part of the 2011 World Football Challenge. Tickets for the international match, valued at $60 each, will be provided as a special bonus to all season ticket holders that have signed up before April 30. Whitecaps FC season tickets are available at a pro-rated price - starting at $268 - through the Whitecaps FC office at 604.669.9283 or online at whitecapsfc.com/season-tickets.

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"We are thrilled to be playing English Premier League club Manchester City FC at Empire Field,” said Paul Barber, Whitecaps FC chief executive officer. "Our inaugural season in Major League Soccer has been a tremendous success to this stage, with near capacity crowds at our first three home matches this season. As part of this exciting first season in MLS, and as a special thank you for the great support we have received from our fans, we will be inviting all season ticket holders to join us for the Manchester City match as our guests.”

The Blues are managed by former Italian international Roberto Mancini and features a roster stocked with world-class players. Midfielders Patrick Vieira and David Silva are among the most accomplished players on the team, having won the FIFA World Cup with France and Spain respectively. City also features seven full England internationals, including Gareth Barry, Shaun Wright-Phillips, and Joe Hart. Other international stars include German defender Jérôme Boateng, Dutch midfielder Nigel de Jong, Ivory Coast brothers Kolo and Yaya Toure, and Italian striker Mario Balotelli.

“We’re delighted to be heading to North America, and are very excited about travelling to Vancouver to play Whitecaps FC,” said Garry Cook, Manchester City FC Chief Executive.

“Vancouver is a great soccer city with a new MLS side and passionate supporters of the game. We already have a history with the Whitecaps, having played them in 1980 and 1981 at Empire Stadium. They won both matches in fine style and it will be our challenge to try to overturn those results. So it promises to be a fantastic occasion.”

Manchester City currently sits fourth in the EPL standings - two points behind third-place Chelsea FC and three points clear of fifth-place Tottenham Hotspur FC. If City finishes in a top three position, they’ll gain automatic entry to the group stage of the 2011-12 UEFA (Union of European Football Associations) Champions League. The EPL's fourth-place finisher will gain entry to the playoff qualification round of next year's Champions League.

City’s trophy case features two Football League First Division trophies (English top tier), four English FA Cups, and two English League Cups. The club also won the 1970 European Cup Winners' Cup - a tournament that has now evolved into the UEFA Europa League.

The summer international friendly will not be the first time Whitecaps FC and Manchester City have faced each other on the pitch. In 1980, the two clubs played each other in the Trans-Atlantic Challenge Tournament, along with fellow North American Soccer League (NASL) side New York Cosmos and Italian Serie A club AS Roma. In the second match of the tournament, Vancouver defeated Malcolm Allison’s City squad 5-0 at Empire Stadium, with current Whitecaps FC president Bob Lenarduzzi getting on the scoresheet. The following season, the two clubs met again at Empire Stadium and once again saw Whitecaps FC come away victorious with a 2-0 result.

“This international match is a great opportunity for us to thank our supporters in our inaugural MLS season, celebrate our history, and compete against one of the biggest clubs in world soccer," added Lenarduzzi. "Whitecaps FC have enjoyed a long history of playing top clubs in friendly matches. I remember playing against Manchester City at the old Empire Stadium in 1980 and 1981. We won both of those matches then, and I look forward to making it a third victory over City this summer."

Another common tie between both clubs is Whitecaps FC alternate captain Terry Dunfield. The native of Vancouver, BC, spent four seasons with Manchester City after entering the club’s youth system as a 15-year-old. During the 2000-01 season, Dunfield won the club's Youth Player of the Year award and appeared for the first team in the final match of their EPL season -a 2-1 home defeat to Chelsea FC.

The match will be also be a family affair of sorts, as Whitecaps FC striker Atiba Harris and Manchester City defender Micah Richards are cousins.

The match is Vancouver’s only game in the World Football Challenge. The balance of Manchester City’s participation in the challenge will be announced soon. For more information about the World Football Challenge, visit WorldFootballChallenge.com.

Additional match information, including individual match ticket availability, will be announced at a later date. Visit whitecapsfc.com/bonusmatch for more information.

About Vancouver Whitecaps FC
In 1974, Vancouver Whitecaps FC played their inaugural season in the North American Soccer League, and in 1979, the club won the NASL Soccer Bowl championship. From 1987 to 1992, as a member of the Canadian Soccer League, Vancouver won four straight CSL titles. In 2002, Whitecaps FC created a full club model that encompasses professional teams for men and women, extensive youth development and grassroots participation programs, facility development, and the Whitecaps Foundation to support specific initiatives related to health and wellness through soccer. Since 2004, Whitecaps FC have won two United Soccer Leagues First Division championships and two USL W-League championships. This year, Whitecaps FC began their inaugural season in Major League Soccer at Empire Field and will move into the new BC Place Stadium in downtown Vancouver in early October.