This year, Vancouver Whitecaps FC made over 400 appearances in the community. As we look ahead to 2014, we are very excited to launch a brand new ‘Caps in the Community section on our website to allow fans easier access to information on all Whitecaps FC community events and programs. This will include information on soccer camps, donation requests, and community news. For more information and to view the new webpage, please visit whitecapsfc.com/community.
Check out the website to find out more about events and stories like these:
2013 ‘Caps in the Community – A Year In Review
Whitecaps FC have had a historic year in 2013, setting records on and off the field. On the field, the club set new highs for wins, points, and goals scored. The ‘Caps also saw Camilo Sanvezzo bring home the Golden Boot, led the league with seven MLS Player of the Week winners, and clinched a record fourth Cascadia Cup.
Off the field, Whitecaps FC worked diligently to make an impact in the community through a variety of programs and initiatives. This year the club’s two main community focuses were cancer research and prevention and mental health initiatives. While the club is highly committed to these two areas, it also supports a wide variety of other charitable organizations and causes. In 2013, the ‘Caps participated in a remarkable total of more than 400 community events. Along the way, the Blue and White also won the MLS W.O.R.K.S. Community MVP contest, and raised over $100,000 for Canadian Cancer Society through 50/50 proceeds.
Here’s a look back on more stories from the year that was:
In conjunction with the club’s mental health stream, the ‘Caps participated in Bell’s Let’s Talk Day this past February. Bell contributed $0.05 to mental health related initiatives for every text message and long distance call sent by Bell and Bell Aliant customers, as well as for every RT of the official message on the @Bell_LetsTalk account. In addition to supporting the cause through texts, calls, and tweets, the ‘Caps also participated by encouraging dialogue about mental health.
Spring brings longer days, warmer nights, and blooming flowers. Springs also brings Daffodil Month in April, a special month for the Canadian Cancer Society. Whitecaps FC players Brad Knighton and Brad Rusin, along with club president Bob Lenarduzzi, club ambassador Carl Valentine, and mascot Spike, took to the streets of Vancouver on April 26 in support of the cause. On Daffodil Day, Canadians are asked to reflect on and remember the thousands of people that struggle with cancer every day.
In another community area, Whitecaps FC nominated Bobby Samra, an educator and soccer coach, to represent them in the league-wide fourth annual MLS W.O.R.K.S Community MVP contest. Bobby used soccer as a tool to tackle issues such as acceptance, drug abuse, and mental health head on. This two-week contest from July 1 to 12 went down to the wire with Canadian rival Montreal Impact also in contention. After an intense morning of voting on the last day, Samra and Whitecaps FC pulled through as the 2013 MLS W.O.R.K.S Community MVP Grand Prize winners! Samra won an all-expenses paid trip to the MLS All-Star Game and $10,000 to the charity of his choice, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
Whitecaps FC players, club mascot, alumni, and staff joined players from the Vancouver Canucks, BC Lions, and Vancouver Canadians at the first annual sports day in support of children with Autism. The event united all four professional sports teams for the first time under one roof.
In July, Whitecaps FC also participated in a four-day soccer camp put on by the Vancouver Police Soccer and Service Club for underprivileged youth. This camp, directed towards inner city youth, featured dozens of games and drills and even included a special visit by Whitecaps FC captain Jay DeMerit, club ambassador Carl Valentine, and mascot Spike.
The end of July featured the second annual Whitecaps FC Open Practice presented by Sport Chek. This full team event gave fans an exclusive viewing of a ‘Caps training session and included lots of giveaways to everyone in attendance.
Later that month, Whitecaps FC players also attended a Vancouver Street Soccer practice as the team was preparing for the 2013 Homeless World Cup in Poland.
July also saw Whitecaps FC take part in the Michael Cuccione Foundation’s Kick for a Cure and helped raise $131,000 to fund the Childhood Cancer Research Program.
Whitecaps FC also hosted Skills, Prospects, and Fantasy Match Summer Camps for boys and girls aged U-6 to U-15 throughout the summer. Camps were held all over Northern BC, Okanagan and the Lower Mainland and featured special visits from Whitecaps FC first team players and Spike.
This summer set a record for all-time driest in Vancouver, breaking a 60-year record. This boded well for the ‘Caps as they participated in some of the most memorable appearances this season under the sun in August.
Whitecaps FC staff and over 10 players arrived in style to Ladysmith, BC by sea plane for the VI Coast Salish 2nd Annual Hope and Health Soccer Extravaganza. The first day saw a very inspiring 'Evening of Champions' featuring keynote speeches and special appearances by Olympic ski cross gold medalist, Ashleigh McIvor and a performance from recording artist, Kimberly Caldwell – with the help of boyfriend Jordan Harvey. The second day featured a day camp filled with soccer skills, coaching, and goalkeeper clinics.
Only a few days later, Carl Valentine and ‘Caps players spent a memorable afternoon at Camp Goodtimes, a medically supervised camp run by the Canadian Cancer Society for children with cancer and their families. During their visit, the ‘Caps spent the day playing soccer and acting out skits with a group.
September marks the beginning of the school year for most children but unfortunately, some kids are not able to attend due to their health. Whitecaps FC made their second visit to BC Children’s Hospital this year on September 11 where eight players and staff got to meet some very special children and their families.
This year, Whitecaps FC players and staff also spent time at Ronald McDonald house, bringing smiles and positive distractions to families going through a tough time.
September is also Literacy Month and in support of Raise-A-Reader, three ‘Caps players took to the streets bright and early exchanging special edition copies of the Vancouver Sun for donations in support of Raise-a-Reader Day.
November can only mean one thing for top lips: a moustache! Whitecaps FC players Matt Watson and Jordan Harvey, along with ‘Caps staff, grew facial hair to raise funds and awareness for prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and male mental health initiatives.
For the second year in a row, Whitecaps FC president Bob Lenarduzzi participated in the Covenant House Sleep Out along with other business leaders in 14 cities across North America this November. Lenarduzzi raised money while sleeping on the streets on November 21 in solidarity with homeless kids.
Looking back on 2013, it has been a fulfilling and memorable year for Vancouver Whitecaps FC both on field and off the field. In recognition of outstanding work within the community, Whitecaps FC named Jordan Harvey as the 2013 Humanitarian of the Year at the Whitecaps FC Player Awards presented by BMO. Jordan has been an outstanding ambassador for the club and dedicated countless hours of his personal time to charitable efforts while serving the ‘Caps community.