‘Caps in the Community

Whitecaps FC Celebrate Cowichan Tribes Mini-Pitch Opening in Duncan

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VANCOUVER, BC – The Cowichan Strong Mini-Pitch officially opened on Thursday afternoon with a community celebration that featured a welcome to the territory from Cowichan Tribes, ribbon cutting and ball drop. The Cowichan Strong Mini-Pitch is the eighth pitch opened by Hope and Health in partnership with Vancouver Whitecaps FC.

"We are honoured and thankful to be welcomed here with Cowichan Tribes and Hope and Health to celebrate the opening ceremony of this beautiful mini-pitch,” said Vanni Sartini, Whitecaps FC head coach. “It’s rewarding to play a small part in today’s opening, and I look forward to hearing how the community has enjoyed the pitch for years to come, inspiring children's hopes and dreams of playing soccer. We are grateful for our partnership with Hope and Health in making this vision come to life.”

“I raise my hands to Hope and Health, and their key partners for their support and collaboration to make a mini-pitch possible in our community,” said Cowichan Tribes Chief Cindy Daniels. “I know our smun’eem (children) can’t wait to get to play on it, make new friends, see how their skills improve with practice, experience the magic of teamwork, and, most importantly, have fun.”

In addition to the pitch being built, a 5V5 Champions League will be activated to give the youth a competitive environment with high-level coaching to help their technical development. As more pitches are constructed, Champions League play will expand across communities and fellow nations.

“We are thrilled to partner with Cowichan Tribes and the amazing core funders to bring this multi-sport mini-pitch to their community knowing how much the children, youth - and adults - will enjoy this sports hub!” said Deana Gill, Hope and Health, chief executive officer. “Cowichan plays a special role with Hope and Health as one of the original communities bringing their youth to our Vancouver Island annual community camps since 2012. This mini-pitch not only adds a new multi-sport facility, but it also brings programming infrastructure with a new head coach, who is already in the elementary school making the Hope and Health magic happen and is very excited to take that action onto the mini-pitch very soon.”

Penelakut Strong was the first mini-pitch opened in September 2021, additional pitches include Snaw-naw-as Strong, Tla’amin Strong, Stz’uminus Strong, Snuneymuxw Strong, Ts’uubaa-asatx Strong, as well as Sts’ailes Strong, which officially opened last Monday, and Malahat Strong, set to open this summer.

About Hope and Health
The Hope and Health movement utilizes the beautiful game of soccer and mentorship to inspire hope, as well as improve the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health and life conditions for Indigenous children and youth. The team is committed to come together as one heart, one mind to maximize sport as a tool for reconciliACTION in relation to the Canadian Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls To Action, specific to Sports and Reconciliation (87-91). The Hope and Health vision is for Indigenous children and youth to carry themselves with pride and confidence, achieve their highest potential and dream big.

About Vancouver Whitecaps FC
Vancouver Whitecaps FC is one of the longest-running professional soccer clubs in North America. Since the inaugural season in 1974, the club has united generations of loyal fans in British Columbia and beyond. Since 2011, the men's first team has played in Major League Soccer, the top tier of professional soccer in the United States and Canada, and in 2025 the club will launch a women's professional team as part of the Northern Super League. Whitecaps FC is a fully integrated club, housing one of the most unique soccer development programs. Starting from grassroots and including professional development academies for both boys and girls from coast-to-coast, with a goal to provide a safe and welcoming environment so that all participants can thrive and achieve their potential. For more information, visit whitecapsfc.com.