After winning their W-League season opener 2-0 away to Victoria Highlanders last Sunday, Vancouver Whitecaps FC now prepare for their home opener this Sunday, May 22, against Seattle Sounders women at Coquitlam's Percy Perry Stadium. Kick-off is at 4:00 p.m. PDT. The match is being hosted by Coquitlam Metro-Ford Soccer Club and is the first of the 2011 Whitecaps Women's Soccer Series - presented by Kia.
With players still arriving in Vancouver on a near daily basis, head coach Hubert Busby Jr. has an ever-increasing number of options to pick for his starting XI. In Victoria, Busby showed no hesitation in starting defenders Shannon Woeller, Lexi Marton, and Krista Kruse, as well as midfielder Ranee Premji, even though all four had only joined the squad a few days earlier.
Barring injury, it is expected that central midfield duties will again fall to the dynamic duo of newly named captain Kelsey Hood and the two-goal hero in Victoria, Tiffany Weimer. The latter was named to the latest W-League Team of the Week for her fine play in the season opener. Winger Jen Stoltenberg also impressed on Vancouver Island and may have earned another start.
Seattle are coached for a second season by former Sounders men’s team star Leighton O'Brien - son of former Whitecaps FC midfielder Fran O'Brien. Under his guidance, Seattle have been specialists at playing to draws, going 2W-2L-6D last year and playing to a 0-0 draw in Victoria last Saturday in Seattle's only league match so far this season.
The team includes several key returnees from last season, including veteran former United States international midfielder Justi Baumgardt, veteran midfielder Tafara Pulse, and a trio of young attackers in Jocelyn Charette, Megan Miller, and Justina MacDowell.
Among the new additions is veteran defender Tari Coffey, a player from the Sounders early days who rejoins the team after a seven-year absence. Also new on defence are the Hill sisters, Mary and Nance, who both play for Seattle University.
This will be the 36th encounter between the two teams, who are each celebrating their 11th season of competition. Whitecaps FC lead the all-time series 22W-6L-7D, and are 12W-3L-4D at home. Recent contests have been closer though, as over the past three seasons, Vancouver's record against the Sounders is only 2W-1L-4D. Last season, the 'Caps won 3-1 in Seattle, but were then held 1-1 at home, in a match played at Victoria's Royal Athletic Park.
PERCY PERRY STADIUM
Sunday's game will be the third-ever W-League match that Whitecaps FC has played at Percy Perry Stadium. Last season, the 'Caps defeated Colorado Force FC 2-1 in the home opener at the Coquitlam, BC, venue. In 2009, they downed Real Colorado Cougars by the same score. The stadium, with its picturesque view of Burke Mountain, is named in honour of renowned Coquitlam track and field coach Percy Perry, who died in 2005 and was once a member of Trinidad & Tobago's national soccer team.
Tickets for the match are only $12 and can be purchased at the gate. Groups and teams can also contact Hugh Hamilton at 778.330.1360 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Parking will be free, with lots open on the North and South ends of Percy Perry Stadium.
Will-call tickets will be available for pick-up at the South entrance.
City of Coquitlam Mayor Richard Stewart will be on hand for the ceremonial kickoff.
The Michael Cuccione foundation will have a tent set-up at the North end of the concourse to conduct face-painting, balloon artistry, and other fun activities. They will also be accepting donations for the fight against childhood cancer. Learn more about the foundation and the “Kick for a Cure” event back at Percy Perry Stadium on July 23, at www.kickforacure.ca.
The Whitecaps Foundation will be at the match and will be selling t-shirts for the 2011 Whitecaps Women’s Soccer Series - presented by Kia. Whitecaps FC women’s and youth programs are made possible by the support of the Whitecaps Foundation. For information on the Whitecaps Foundation and how to become a donor, visit whitecapsfoundation.org.