1979 Whitecaps
Bob Frid

Honouring the 1979 NASL champion Vancouver Whitecaps

On Thursday night on Bell Pitch downtown at BC Place, the 1979 Whitecaps celebrated their induction into the Canadian Soccer Hall of Fame and Museum in the 2011 category of ‘Team of Distinction’.

President John Best, head coach Tony Waiters, team administrator Leslie Wilson, Dr. Jergen Rauh, head scout Metro Gerela, alongside players Ralston Carnegie, Drew Ferguson, Gerry Gray, Bob Lenarduzzi, Dan Lenarduzzi, Paul Nelson, Buzz Parsons, Derek Possee, Carl Shearer, Alan Sondraal, Carl Valentine, and Christine Craven (on behalf of John Craven) were the inductees honoured before Whitecaps FC's 3-0 MLS victory over Real Salt Lake.

In that ’79 season, the Whitecaps finished top of the North American Soccer League's Western Division standings before embarking on a memorable NASL playoff run. After defeating Dallas Tornado in the National Conference quarterfinals and Los Angeles Aztecs in the conference semifinals, Waiters' side faced New York Cosmos in the conference championship. After winning the first match in Vancouver 2-0, the return game saw the Cosmos win 3-2 at Giants Stadium to force a final and decisive mini game. Much to the disbelief of 44,109 Cosmos fans, Derek Possee scored the winning goal in a mini-game shootout to send the 'Caps to the final, where Trevor Whymark scored two goals against Tampa Bay Rowdies to secure the 1979 NASL Soccer Bowl title for Vancouver.

Former striker and current club ambassador Carl Valentine summed up the joy of the club's success by famously announcing to supporters - "You are the number one fans, and we are the number one team!"