By Bob Mackin
First they beat Puerto Rico. Could Africa be the next stop?
The Vancouver Whitecaps may join Major League Soccer's New England Revolution for a spring 2009 tournament in Tanzania.
"There have been loose talks about that," said head coach Teitur Thordarson. "I'm really trying to focus on extending the season."
Captain Jeff Clarke raised a Whitecaps' flag as Mayor Sam Sullivan and six city councillors gazed skyward yesterday to celebrate the club's second United Soccer Leagues' First Division trophy in three years. The flag will fly for a week at Vancouver city hall to commemorate Sunday's championship win over the Puerto Rico Islanders at Burnaby's Swangard Stadium.
"You guys made a powerful statement about how important soccer is to this community," Sullivan said.
Striker Charles Gbeke, who scored Vancouver's goals in the 2-1 match, was missing because he was called up to Edmonton to play for Canada against Mexico Wednesday.
Talks are ongoing with Port Metro Vancouver. The Whitecaps are negotiating a B.C. Place Stadium lease.
Major League Soccer is expected to reveal bidders today for the two 2011 expansion franchises.
The Vancouver Whitecaps' proposal, backed by Greg Kerfoot, Steve Nash and Jeff Mallett, was sent last Friday. There was talk of a rival bid from Canucks' owner Francesco Aquilini, who held talks with MLS, but Aquilini's spokesman said yesterday the bid had been cancelled. Montreal and Ottawa bids were already been announced. Others could be for Portland, Ore., Atlanta, St. Louis, Las Vegas and a second franchise for New York.
The Seattle Sounders join in 2009 and Philadelphia in 2010.