SCENE & HEARD: There is reason to suggest that Francesco Aquilini looked at the incredible success of Toronto's Major League Soccer franchise, noted that it was owned by Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment Ltd., and said to his siblings Roberto and Paolo something like: "Why aren't we actively pursuing a franchise? We have all the infrastructure in place."
Let us count the reasons, Francesco. For openers, in sports jargon, it's called an end-run. After the time and money Greg Kerfoot has unselfishly committed to the soccer movement in British Columbia, it would be disrespectful to try upstaging him. It would clearly not create goodwill in the community on behalf of the hockey club.
Aquilini won't admit it, Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan most assuredly won't admit it, but there've been private discussions about expanding Swangard Stadium to 20,000 seats if it would help Aquilini get the attention of the MLS. The feisty mayor does not like the thought of losing the Whitecaps to a retractable-roofed BC Place Stadium come 2011. His Worship has to get over it.
Kerfoot has spent $6 million on a soccer facility at Simon Fraser University. He has invested $750,000 a year for the past three years on the women's national team. Kerfoot has pledged to funnel any profits from an MLS franchise back into the B.C. Soccer Association, a move new partner Steve Nash thoroughly endorses.
Aquilini's sudden interest in professional soccer stems from an entirely different agenda. In light of the political and community support expressed at Friday's Whitecaps pep rally, it wouldn't behoove Aquilini to continue his pursuit.