Whitecaps FC, BC government, and UBC announce construction of the National Soccer Development Centre

World-class soccer facility to be built at UBC

VANCOUVER, BC - The government of British Columbia will help complete a world-class soccer development centre in Vancouver that will serve to promote sport and physical activity as a foundation for strong families in the province, announced Bill Bennett, Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development.

The B.C. government is partnering with Vancouver Whitecaps FC and the University of British Columbia (UBC) on construction of the National Soccer Development Centre (NSDC). The centre will feature a state-of-the-art fieldhouse, as well as five new, refurbished, or improved soccer fields.

Minister Ida Chong, representing Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development Bill Bennett, led a kickoff event for the project today at UBC, attended by local elementary students, minor soccer players, and members of both Whitecaps FC and Canada’s national soccer teams.

The B.C. government will contribute up to $14.5 million. The centre will be a significant community asset, with more than 50 per cent of field time devoted to community use. In addition, the facility will be a key physical asset to support BC Soccer and the ongoing development of players, coaches, and referees.

Located at UBC’s Thunderbird Park, the NSDC will also be the focal point for Whitecaps FC’s community programs that reach more than 30,000 community players annually – about 30 per cent of the youth players registered in B.C. The partnership will also create important recreational and high-performance sport legacies.

In addition to accommodating youth soccer players, the centre will be the home of Whitecaps FC men’s, women’s, and Residency teams, and UBC’s soccer teams, as well as serving as the west coast base for Canada’s men’s, women’s, and youth national teams.

Furthermore, the NSDC will help Vancouver attract and host major sporting events – including the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup, a Major League Soccer all-star game, and major international friendlies – as well as the associated business opportunities that come with providing a world-class training facility for visiting athletes and teams.

Construction, refurbishment, and improvement of the five fields – three grass and two artificial turf – as well as the new fieldhouse at UBC, combined with the two artificial turf fields built at Simon Fraser University by Whitecaps FC, will complete the historic project that is projected to cost $32.5 million. In total, Whitecaps FC are providing $15 million, while UBC will provide the land. As part of the agreement, Whitecaps FC may also request up to a further $3 million from the B.C. government in 10 years for artificial turf resurfacing.

The project will create more than 170 direct jobs and 90 indirect jobs during the construction phase. Whitecaps FC will officially move to the club’s new training grounds in spring 2013 when the first phase of the project is expected to be completed. This first phase will include a refurbished grass field and locker room access for Whitecaps FC. The balance of the project will be completed in advance of the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

Quotes:

Bill Bennett, Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development –

“We are proud to partner with the Whitecaps and UBC to make the National Soccer Development Centre a reality. Our government’s support for construction of the facility will help grow the world’s most popular game in this province, promote sport and healthy activity for B.C. families and develop B.C.’s soccer stars of the future.

“This centre will help attract major international soccer events and the accompanying business opportunities. In addition, more than 260 direct and indirect jobs will be created during construction.”

Bob Lenarduzzi, president, Vancouver Whitecaps FC –

“Today is a monumental day for Canadian soccer and elevates the game to new levels in British Columbia. UBC is a world-class university in a fantastic location and is quickly becoming the epicentre for sport in Canada.

“The government’s commitment to healthy living and sport for our youth, combined with the amenities and synergy at UBC, makes this partnership truly special. We are excited to call the National Soccer Development Centre our home for many years to come.”

Louise Cowin, vice president, students, University of British Columbia –

“The new National Soccer Development Centre will be a cornerstone for UBC’s community athletic programs and we are delighted that members of our community as well as our students and athletes will enjoy world-class facilities on campus. We are both grateful and excited to be involved in this partnership and look forward to growing the sport of soccer and other athletic programs in the community.”

Quick Facts:
- More than 50 per cent of field time will be dedicated to community use.
- The National Soccer Development Centre will serve as a base for Whitecaps FC men’s and women’s teams, the club’s development squads, and the Canadian national men’s and women’s teams. It will also support UBC and BC Soccer.
- The centre will be situated at UBC’s Thunderbird Park.
- Annual operating costs of the centre will be fully covered by Whitecaps FC and UBC.