Vancouver Island fans of Vancouver Whitecaps FC will have an opportunity to see Western Canada’s Major League Soccer (MLS) side for the first time in their own backyard, as the club announced today a preseason friendly match versus the University of Victoria Vikes men’s soccer team. The Vikes will host Whitecaps FC at UVic’s Centennial Stadium on Sunday, February 19, at 1 p.m. PT in British Columbia’s provincial capital.
Whitecaps FC also confirmed today training matches on February 6 against Seattle Sounders FC and February 10 versus Real Salt Lake at Grande Sports World complex in Casa Grande, Arizona.
The February 19 match will be the first-ever meeting between an MLS club and a Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) side. Other than last season, the ’Caps and Vikes have played every year since 2005 when the Blue and White were a North American second division club. Vancouver holds the edge in record with four wins, one defeat, and one draw.
“Victoria has a great soccer community and the Vikes provide a fantastic experience on and off the pitch,” said Whitecaps FC president Bob Lenarduzzi. “Throughout the years, we have played a number of matches on Vancouver Island, but this will be the first time as a Major League Soccer side. We are looking forward to an exciting match.”
Finishing first overall in CIS, the Vikes completed their 2011 championship season with a record of 14W-2L-2D. Other accolades include UVic head coach Bruce Wilson receiving the distinction of being named ‘Head Coach of the Year’ for 2011 in the Canada West conference. An original member of the North American Soccer League Vancouver Whitecaps from 1974 to 1977, Wilson is celebrating his 24th season at the helm of the Vikes.
The preseason friendly against the Vikes will be the last chance for Whitecaps FC head coach Martin Rennie to assess the progress of his new squad, before heading to Orlando, Florida, for the annual Disney Pro Soccer Classic preseason tournament.
“Preseason matches are a great opportunity to evaluate where we’re at in our preparations to the start of season,” explained Rennie. “The Vikes are the top university side in Canada, and I expect an entertaining match.”
Tickets for the Victoria match on Feb. 19 can be purchased by phone at 250 721-8480 or online at tickets.uvic.ca, and they are priced as follows:
Youth (12 and under): $7
Following their trip to the southeastern United States, Whitecaps FC will kickoff their 2012 season on Saturday, March 10, when they host MLS First Kick versus Canadian rivals and MLS expansion club Montreal Impact at BC Place.
Whitecaps FC 2012 Major League Soccer season tickets start at $329, plus applicable tax and a $10 processing fee per order. To secure a seat and for additional information about Whitecaps FC MLS season tickets, including loge seats and suites, call 604.669.9283 or visit whitecapsfc.com.