This coming Saturday, Vancouver Whitecaps FC will be celebrating Fan Appreciation night at BC Place, as they take on Colorado Rapids in their season finale . In honour of the outstanding support that the club has received throughout their inaugural MLS season, whitecapsfc.com profiles some of the fans who've packed the stadium week in and week out.
Christie Kamena and her family have been Whitecaps FC season ticket holders for the past five seasons, part of the ‘Caps fan base since the team’s second division days at Swangard Stadium in Burnaby, BC. For Christie – a long-time basketball admirer – her passion for soccer developed after watching her son Trevor become involved in the sport, and she has now continued to join in her family’s enthusiasm for soccer in Vancouver’s debut season in Major League Soccer (MLS).
“It’s a much bigger fan base with a noticeable difference in the quality of play, which helps makes for more excitement, but I personally have always been exited by the team,” said Kamena. “I think it’s a very fun team. Every game, the players are working so hard. I find it kind of sad they sometimes don’t get better results, but [we] have been playing pretty well lately and I’ve enjoyed it so much”.
While Christie has enjoyed watching the team develop against tougher competition, it has been the way the ‘Caps have engaged their fans where she has found true value. “I’ve always enjoyed the fact that the players will talk to you, shake your hand, and try to interact with the fans. We have gotten so many autographs,” said Kamena, who paused on the phone to dig up some of the autographed merchandise.
As for Christie’s favourite player, there is no doubt who has claimed her heart. “Eric Hassli. He’s very exciting. I play and coach basketball and I love to watch him ‘body’ people around and get position, so I have a lot of fun watching him. He cares and I appreciate that attitude”.
Finally, while Christie is still adapting to the change of venues from Swangard Stadium to Empire Field and finally BC Place, she has been impressed by what she has seen. “BC Place has been re-done quite nicely and still tries to create that unique atmosphere. The sound, the roof, and even those banners that block off the second level are special to look at. It feels like a big-time stadium.”
And that, among many other reasons, is why the team will continue to hold a big-time place with Christie and her family.