Year in Review: 'Caps in the community

'Caps making positive impact in the community

2011 has been a very eventful year for Vancouver Whitecaps FC, with the club as busy as ever in each segment of operations. It was also a successful year in many regards, from our community initiatives to our world class partners and our expanded Residency program, our always terrific women’s team and completing our first season in Major League Soccer. Over the next week, we’ll review the year that was. Today, we begin with ‘Caps in the community.

Over the past year, Whitecaps FC have been very busy both on and off the pitch. The club takes great pride in being a part of the community, and with the support of the Whitecaps Foundation, there were a number of events that we took part in this year to help better British Columbia.

In total, there were approximately 2,800 attendees at Whitecaps FC Community Clinics presented by Sport Chek, including clinics held in Kamloops, Penticton and Nanaimo, as well as the Lower Mainland.  2,800 is also the number of attendees at Whitecaps FC Camps presented by Bell, with camps held in Whistler, Squamish, Penticton, Kelowna, Vernon, the Sunshine Coast and the Lower Mainland.  That means Vancouver Whitecaps FC helped educate 5,600 youth spanning 25 different communities about the sport and the importance of staying active. Not to mention, the ‘Caps also visited 34 schools spreading the word about health and fitness.

One of the biggest highlights of the year came on August 27, 2011 when Whitecaps FC hosted Camp Appreciation Day during the MLS match versus Houston Dynamo at Empire Field.  36 camp attendees and their parents won tickets to the game along with early entrance, food and beverages and an opportunity to be at pitch level to watch the players pre-match warm-up.  This was a chance for individuals throughout the province to take in a match with their family.

The ‘Caps made a number of appearances in the community throughout the year and took part in many inspiring events. Some of these events included players coaching at a local high school and conducting a soccer clinic for OA Projects, participating in training with Canada’s Homeless World Cup team and then sending them off to the tournament, aiding with the 2nd Annual KidSport Fair Trade Community Soccer Match, visiting the Michael Cuccione Childhood Cancer Research Program at BC Children’s Hospital and much much more.

The Whitecaps FC women’s team also got out into the community, playing their seven home matches in six different communities as part of the Whitecaps Women’s Soccer Series presented by KIA. From Surrey all the way to Penticton, almost 10,000 people came out to watch the ‘Caps women.

Another highlight was a free clinic that was held after the women’s match in Penticton on July 8. Sam Lenarduzzi, Whitecaps FC manager of community soccer systems, and club ambassador Carl Valentine held an open clinic for local youngsters. Also on-hand to help out were members of our awesome women’s team, as well as the coaching staff to help out with the many young girls in the community that came to take part.

All in all, 2011 was a great year for each and everyone who took part in ‘Caps community programs and we hope 2012 is even better! Find out more about how you can help support Whitecaps FC community initiatives at http://whitecapsfoundation.org.