'Caps set for historic preseason trip

Vancouver Whitecaps FC announce that the Whitecaps men’s team will travel to Dar es Salaam - the largest city in the United Republic of Tanzania - for a three-match preseason tour that is being organized by LZ Enterprise and endorsed by the Government of Tanzania. The defending United Soccer Leagues (USL) First Division champions will embark on this historic trip on Wednesday, March 4. The team will arrive early in Dar es Salaam on Friday, March 6 and open the tour with matches against two of the top clubs in the Tanzanian Premier League. They will face Young Africans FC on Monday, March 9, and Simba SC on Thursday, March 12. Both sides are based in Dar es Salaam and have each won a record 16 domestic league titles. The Young Africans, known locally as Yanga, are currently in first place in the league with 14 wins and one defeat. Simba, which means lion in Swahili, are currently in third place with seven wins, three draws and five defeats. The 'Caps will also face the Tanzania’s national team, who are known as the Taifa Stars, on Saturday, March 14. Tanzania sit 103rd in the FIFA World Rankings and are currently representing the Central-East Zone at the Confederation of African Football (CAF) African Nations Championship in Côte d'Ivoire. All three matches will be played at the 60,000-seat Benjamin Mkapa National Stadium, which opened in 2007. During the two-week tour, the Whitecaps will also visit four schools in Tanzania, participate in two clinics with local youth clubs, and visit the Ngorongoro Crater. Throughout Whitecaps history, the club have hosted a number of teams from overseas. In the 2006 season, the ‘Caps played India’s national team, China’s U-20 national team, and Cardiff City FC from Wales in the Whitecaps Nations Cup at Swangard Stadium. The Tanzania tour, however, will be the first time that the Whitecaps have played overseas friendlies since 1981 when they toured Europe as a member of the North American Soccer League. The Whitecaps have never played a club or international side from Africa. In addition to the three matches in Tanzania, the Whitecaps will continue their preseason with training matches against the University of Victoria (February 28), University of British Columbia (March 24), Seattle University (March 29), USL Premier Development League side Seattle Wolves FC (April 1), and USL-1 rivals Portland Timbers (April 3). Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2009 Preseason Schedule:
Date   Time   Opposition   Location
Feb. 28   3:00 p.m. PST   University of Victoria   Centennial Stadium, UVic, Victoria
Mar. 9   6:00 a.m. PDT   Young Africans FC   National Stadium, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Mar. 12   6:30 a.m. PDT   Simba SC   National Stadium, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Mar. 14   6:30 a.m. PDT   Tanzania National Team   National Stadium, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Mar. 24   6:00 p.m. PDT   University of BC   Thunderbird Park, UBC, Vancouver
Mar. 29   5:00 p.m. PDT   Seattle University   Winskill Park, Tsawwassen
Apr. 1   3:00 p.m. PDT   Seattle Wolves FC   Burnaby Lakes West, Burnaby
Apr. 3   1:00 p.m. PDT   Portland Timbers   Burnaby Lakes West, Burnaby
Whitecaps 2009 season tickets are now on sale. Season tickets include all men’s and women's team regular season and playoff home matches at Swangard Stadium, Nutrilite Canadian Championship home matches against Toronto FC and Montreal Impact, as well as priority listing for BC Place and the proposed Whitecaps Waterfront Stadium. For more information on the 2009 season ticket packages, click here or call 604.669.WAVE (9283). LZ Enterprise Based between the United States and Tanzania, LZ Enterprise is dedicated to sports development through international exchange, youth development, and the universal game of soccer. In 2005, LZ Enterprise produced the Tanzania Soccer Summit, which hosted the USL-1 Seattle Sounders in Tanzania for international friendship, soccer development, as well as introducing sports tourism to the Tanzanian tourism sector. Most recently, LZ Enterprise, signed a letter of intent with the Government of Tanzania to initiate a nationwide sports development program in Tanzanian schools.