Do you remember the popular 90s animated television series with the genetically enhanced mice, Pinky and the Brain? And do you remember how each episode used to start?
Pinky: Gee Brain, what do you want to do tonight?
Brain: The same thing we do every night Pinky – try to take over the world!
Now replace Brain with Martin Rennie, because Vancouver Whitecaps FC are once again beginning their own quest to take over the world ...of soccer, at least.
Preposterous, you say? What about Barcelona, Real Madrid, Manchester United, and other global soccer powers you ask? Well, while many will claim that this team or that team is the best, there is only one way to decide who the top club team in the world really is, and that is the FIFA Club World Cup – a tournament which FC Barcelona won in 2011 to cement their place as the dominant force in the global game.
But believe it or not, the ‘Caps have an equal shot of participating in this tournament as any of the world’s most famous teams. It’s a 20-month journey when all is said and done, but in the simplest terms, it’s a three step plan – and it all starts here in our own backyard.
STEP 1: CONQUER YOUR COUNTRY
Win the Amway Canadian Championship. You can't be the best in the world without first being the best in your own country. That starts tomorrow, Wednesday, May 2, when the ‘Caps travel to face inter-provincial rivals FC Edmonton at Commonwealth Stadium in the first leg of the Amway Canadian Championship semifinals (7 p.m. PT, live on Sportsnet Pacific and West, listen live on TEAM 1410 radio). The series then comes to BC Place for the second and deciding leg on May 9 (kickoff at 8 p.m. PT). Should the ‘Caps triumph, they’ll play for national glory against either Toronto FC or Montreal Impact in the Canadian Championship final series. The 'Caps have yet to win the tournament since its inception in 2008, so Rennie's bunch will certainly be keen to claim the title and move on to the next stage of their plot.
STEP 2: CONQUER YOUR REGION
Winning the Canadian Championship means qualifying for the CONCACAF Champions League against the best teams in the region (ex. Mexico, United States, Honduras, Costa Rica, Carribean). European soccer fans will recognize the tournament as the local counterpart to the wildly popular UEFA Champions League – which Barcelona won in 2011 to earn their qualification to last year’s FIFA Club World Cup. This year's CONCACAF Champions League was won by Mexican club CF Monterrey for the second straight year, meaning that they could now potentially play this year's UEFA Champions League winners (Chelsea or Bayern Munich) in December.
STEP 3: CONQUER THE WORLD!!!
Should the ‘Caps win the CONCACAF Champions League, they’ll play in the FIFA Club World Cup. There, they would get their shot at elite teams such as Barcelona and Manchester United, with the most prestigious trophy in professional club soccer on the line. This would be no friendly. This would be the very best that these teams have to offer, a true test of where your club stands on the world stage. With that in mind, when you watch the UEFA Champions League final at BC Place on May 19, know that the possibility of playing the winner of that tournament next year is not so unlikely.
So on May 9 when the ‘Caps host FC Edmonton at BC Place, gather your friends, grab your ‘Caps gear, and ask the question …what do you want to do tonight?