VANCOUVER, BC – To say 2013 will go down as a memorable year for Vancouver Whitecaps FC supporter Gilbert Moses would be a massive understatement.
Moses, who has been supporting the 'Caps since they joined Major League Soccer in 2011, was the grand prize winner of the Whitecaps FC Loyalty Program contest by acquiring the most points per seat in 2013. As a result, Moses won a free trip to the 2013 MLS Cup in Kansas City, including flight, hotel, entrance to pre and post parties, and tickets to the actual match.
“I was pretty stoked when I got the call," Moses told whitecapsfc.com. "I didn’t really comprehend all of the stuff I was hearing because I just couldn’t process it at that moment."
The build-up was as much fun as the match, according to Moses. He attended the MLS Pre-Game Hospitality event presented by El Jimador on December 7, where he picked up souvenirs such as scarves, and programs – not to mention a wide assortment of catered food to enjoy.
The match itself was one of the most memorable MLS Cup finals in league history. Realt Salt Lake and Sporting Kansas City battled long and hard, and after the most nerve racking of chances to secure victory for both teams had passed, the game went into penalty kicks where hosts Sporting Kansas City took home the title.
Gilbert was in awe of the match, as he described the energy at the stadium.
“It was a chilly day, but once the game started you couldn’t feel it because everyone was standing for the entire game. It was a thrilling game and the atmosphere was insane,” he said. “I cheered for Real Salt Lake even though everyone around me was supporting Sporting Kansas City, but I just wanted a Western Conference team to win.”
Moses has taken full advantage of the 'Caps Loyalty Program this year, having enjoyed many unique events throughout the season. Included among these events was the ‘Caps Jersey Launch event and the Whitecaps FC Open Practice presented by Sport Chek at Swangard Stadium, where a select few fans got to meet Whitecaps FC players.
“I had long conversations with Nigel Reo-Coker, Omar Salgado, and Darren Mattocks, so that was definitely one of my highlights of the year," Moses said of the Open Practice. "I thought that would be the top highlight, but the Kansas City trip beat that.”
The fact that Moses ended up as the grand prize winner this season was not exactly a coincendence, as his wife would attest.
“That is the exact reason I took my wife on the trip, opposed to one of my buddies, because she had to put up with me doing everything I could to get points,” Moses laughed.
As a 'Caps supporter, he's been proud to see the club continue to grow. He notes a specific vacation to Cuba that particularly demonstrated the emergence of the club.
“I saw a guy reading a book about soccer on the place, we started chatting, and we immediately started talking about the ‘Caps," Moses said. "Before we knew it, there were like 20 people on the plane that were season ticket holders and we all started talking about the ‘Caps.”
From the club's perspective, the Loyalty Program helps Whitecaps FC give back to its dedicated fanbase. The program proved fruitful for Moses, who said his winning prize was just about perfect.
“It was amazing ... the only thing that would have made that experience better was if the ‘Caps were in the final.”