VANCOUVER, BC – For the second straight year, Vancouver Island soccer fans will have an opportunity to see Vancouver Whitecaps FC play in their own backyard, as the Major League Soccer (MLS) club announced today a friendly match versus the University of Victoria Vikes men’s soccer team. The Vikes will host Whitecaps FC at UVic’s Centennial Stadium on Saturday, March 16, at 1 p.m. PT in British Columbia’s provincial capital.
The ’Caps and Vikes have played every year since 2005 when the Blue and White were a North American second division club, including last year’s 2-1 win for Whitecaps FC in the first-ever meeting between an MLS club and a Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) side. Vancouver holds the edge in record with five wins, one defeat, and one draw.
“We’re thrilled to bring the highest level of professional soccer in Western Canada back to the island,” said Whitecaps FC president Bob Lenarduzzi. “It was a great event last season, so we’re looking forward to another strong turnout from the Victoria community and another exciting match for fans.”
Following their first two MLS regular season matches, the March 16 friendly against the Vikes will provide an early chance for Whitecaps FC head coach Martin Rennie to assess the overall depth and progress of his new squad.
“With a break from MLS action that weekend, this match will be a good opportunity to continue momentum early in our season,” explained Rennie. “The Vikes provided a very competitive match for our squad last year, so we expect another entertaining match.”
The Vikes completed their 2012 season with a record of 6W-6L-2D and finished third overall in the Canada West Pacific division. UVic are coached by 2011 Canada West conference ‘Coach of the Year’ Bruce Wilson, an original member of the North American Soccer League Vancouver Whitecaps from 1974 to 1977. Wilson is celebrating his 25th season at the helm of the Vikes.
At least five Vikes have previously played professional soccer with Whitecaps FC including Jamie Lowery, Chris and Nico Craveiro, Geordie Lyall and current men’s soccer coach Wilson.
Another tie to Whitecaps FC is the development of 2011 CIS tournament Most Valuable Player Cam Hundal, of Surrey, B.C., and 2011 CIS All-Canadian and women's soccer player Jaclyn Sawicki, of Coquitlam, B.C. Both Hundal and Sawicki have spent time with Whitecaps FC development programs, a testament to the player development model the ‘Caps pride themselves on.
"As always, hosting Vancouver Whitecaps FC provides a very special and unique atmosphere for the soccer community on the island," said Vikes men's head coach Bruce Wilson. "Fans will have the opportunity to see both the Vikes team, as well as Whitecaps FC, who will be just starting their MLS season. I think we will have a very good turn out."
Whitecaps FC have strong ties in Victoria through their partnership with the EA SPORTS BC Soccer Premier League and club Vancouver Island Wave, and through their relationship with Victoria Highlanders FC.
The Vikes-Whitecaps FC game will be streamed live at http://UVic.canadawest.tv.
Tickets for the Victoria match on March 16 will be made available for purchase online or at the gate. For more information, visit: http://www.govikesgo.com/whitecaps or contact Janine Prince at (250) 472-4772 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Whitecaps FC 2013 MLS season tickets start at $349, plus applicable service charges and fees. To secure a seat and for additional information about Whitecaps FC MLS season tickets, including Pitchside Club and suites, call 604.669.9283 or visit whitecapsfc.com/tickets.