On Wednesday, Vancouver Whitecaps FC will host over 70 of the club’s men’s and women’s alumni at BC Place for our match against FC Dallas. Included on this list are ‘Caps alums Sophie Schmidt and Emily Zurrer and Maple Ridge native Karina LeBlanc of our recent bronze medal-winning Canadian women’s national team!
LeBlanc, Schmidt and Zurrer will be signings autographs along with Whitecaps FC captain Jay DeMerit from 6-6:30 p.m. PT at the Bell Box on Terry Fox Plaza before the match.
This will be a fantastic opportunity to honour the many members of our Whitecaps FC family who have made this club what it is today, and who continue to make us proud to the utmost degree.
I am personally really looking forward to seeing some old faces and reminiscing about the fond memories of the ‘Caps storied past. It is going to be a special day and an exciting match on the field as the ‘Caps try to establish themselves as one of the strongest clubs in Major League Soccer. Plus, we have history on our side.
Today we can see the legacy of our alumni continuing with our current team. Last week, I took my second trip to the Okanagan to visit a Whitecaps FC camp. In my previous visit I spent a day in Vernon with midfielder John Thorrington. I was amazed at the number of Whitecaps FC jerseys worn by the kids at the camp. The kids were thrilled to meet and get autographs from John, and were also really excited to meet and play with our leading goalscorer and number one draft pick, striker Darren Mattocks, who was so happy to put on a bib and get involved in the games at the camp.
This reminded me so much of the time I had playing for Whitecaps FC in our heyday. As players we were always encouraged to be active in the community, and we looked to grow the game of soccer at every opportunity – much like we’ve seen with our inspiring Canadian women’s national team.
I am thankful that I took my role seriously as I have met so many fans that remember me from going to their schools, being at one of the camps, or just from meeting me on the street. I had a picture sent to me when I was in Victoria to visit a school. In this picture I’m getting ready to shake the hand of a very young Steve Nash. Imagine that!
One of the club’s goals is for the ‘Caps to be an asset in the community – not just in Vancouver but in British Columbia as a whole, and to all of Canada – just like we were back in the day. From my travels so far it looks like we are making some big strides.
(Carl Valentine signs autographs for youngsters at Oak Bay Soccer Club Awards Dinner, including Steve Nash on the far left)