Wendy McDonald was always a person who left her imprint on the world in everything that she did from her business acumen to her renowned philanthropy.
It’s only appropriate that she donated her final birthday present to the club that she has been an integral part of for over three decades.
“Wendy McDonald was one of the original Whitecaps owners in 1984, she stayed involved even through the 86ers days; she was a contributor to the club up until her passing this December,” said team president, Bob Lenarduzzi.
“For her 90th birthday, she received this gift of a trip to the Gothia Cup for a team and Wendy in turn gifted that gift to Whitecaps FC.”
The 'Caps Girls Elite team was the recipient of this gift and will represent Canada at the 2013 Gothia Cup.
Since its inception in 1975, the Gothia Cup has become the world’s largest youth football tournament. Every year the competition hosts approximately 1,600 teams from 80 nations across the world. This year tournament will host over 4,000 matches played on over 100 fields.
The tournament will run from July 14 to 20 in Gothenburg, Sweden. The team will fly to Sweden this Friday in preparation for the big event. They are the only delegate representing Canada in the Girls under-19 division; there are four other Canadian clubs competing in various other divisions this year. Canada have been represented in the Gothia Cup 34 times in the tournament's 38 years existence.
"I think it’s all sinking in for them right now, we just got all our information about the event so they’re very excited about representing the club internationally and playing against teams from all over Europe and the rest of the world,” said Jesse Symons, head of the Girls Elite program.
“We’ll hopefully we able to have some great life experiences, connect with the international teams, as well as have a great tournament.”
The girls have been placed in Group 2 along with Gasteizko Neskak (Spain), Sköllersta IF (Sweden), SK Hardhaus (Norway) and QBIK (Sweden). Vancouver will open the tournament on July 15 versus Sköllersta IF, the following day they take on QBIK, before wrapping up group play against SK Hardhaus. Depending on how the girls do in the group stage, they will have an opportunity to move onto the playoff round of the cup.
The girls’ first match of the tournament against Swedish side Sköllersta IF will be played at Gothia Stadium, a brand new state of the art arena that seats 14,000 and was built specifically for the tournament it was named after. It will be the first ever Gothia Cup match hosted inside Gothia Stadium.
“We’re going in expecting all these teams to be very talented in the under 19 division,” Symons said. “To be able to play against European teams is always a great opportunity, so we’ll go in respecting every team and we’ll see how we match up against these teams throughout the event.
In Pacific Coast Soccer League (PCSL), the girls clinched first place in their division with a 4-1 win over Coquitlam Metro-Ford SC on Tuesday, boasting an impressive record of 14W-2L-0D with a goal differential of +42. They also recently captured the Kevin McAdams Memorial Cup over fellow PCSL side Fraser Valley Action, Washington state champions Whatcom Soccer Academy Rapids and Oregon’s state champions, Tualatin Hills United.
“Whitecaps FC are a great club, we do well in BC,” said midfielder Jasmine Mander. “To take that into Sweden, and show the world we’re one of the best is going to be something really exciting.”
“I’m super excited. I’m really excited for the atmosphere for the environment we’re going to play and play all the big teams,” added defender Carley Radomski.
Upon returning home from Sweden, the girls still have some unfinished business in British Columbia despite everything they've already accomplished this season. They have an opportunity to complete the triple crown of the PCSL, accomplished by winning the league, the McAdams Cup and the Dave Fryatt Challenge Cup - the last of which takes place from July 28-29. The feat has only been accomplished once in PCSL history, in 2001 by Seattle Hibernian and Caledonian.
2013 Gothia Cup SCHEDULE
Monday, July 15 at 7:00 a.m. PT – Sköllersta IF
Tuesday, July 16 at 7:00 a.m. PT – QBIK
Wednesday, July 17 at 9:50 a.m. PT – SK Hardhaus
CLUB PTS GP W L D GF GA GD
Vancouver Whitecaps FC