Carl Valentine Whitecaps NASL

Valentine’s MLS 101 – Intro

Leading up to the club’s First Kick against Toronto FC on March 19, Whitecaps FC ambassador Carl Valentine will take a closer look at all things Major League Soccer every Monday.

What do you know about Major League Soccer?

Since joining Whitecaps FC, I have been researching as much as I can about the league. It is in my best interest to know everything I can, if I am to speak as an authority on the game. And believe you me, there is a lot to learn.

With the building of soccer-specific stadiums, designated players, salary caps, Supporters' Shield, and CONCACAF Champions League qualifying to name but a few. We are heading into fun and interesting times for us all.

One of the things that worked during the old North American Soccer League days was the profile of the league and the very knowledgeable Whitecaps FC supporters. There was a real bond between the players and fans. There was a genuine belief that the fans were not just showing up to watch their favourite team, but to help us win.

The goal is to write a feature article on the MLS with some of the topics mentioned at the beginning. But what would you like to know about the MLS and your Whitecaps FC team?

We are committed to listening to what our fans want. You are going to be very important to our team getting off to a strong start in our first season, and the players need that extra man when we play at home.

So I am looking forward to reconnecting with old fans and building relationships with new fans.

When I first arrived here in 1979 as a 20-year-old youngster from Manchester, England, I had an instant bonding with the fans of the club (it must have been the hair and the fact I didn’t know what I was going to do when I had the ball). I like to believe it was the hard work and honest effort I put in every time I stepped on the field. I have longed to bring those days back to Vancouver, and I know we have a wonderful opportunity to create what I call the "We Days", where fans felt part of the team, kicked every ball, and drove us on to the 1979 NASL Soccer Bowl.

So let’s learn about the MLS together, and maybe some other young pup will usher the words "WE ARE THE NUMBER ONE TEAM, AND YOU ARE THE NUMBER ONE FANS!"