VANCOUVER, BC – Soccer fans in Metro Vancouver will soon have a new professional team to cheer for.
Whitecaps FC announced on Friday the launch of Whitecaps FC 2 (WFC2), the club’s USL PRO team that will begin play in the spring of 2015. WFC2 will be owned and operated by Whitecaps FC and will play all home matches on the David Sidoo Field at Thunderbird Stadium, a natural extension of the club’s training home at the University of British Columbia: the National Soccer Development Centre (NSDC)
In partnership with UBC and the Government of British Columbia, the club also revealed preliminary renderings of the final phase of the NSDC, featuring a state-of-the-art fieldhouse (subject to final UBC Board of Governors approval), which is set to be completed prior to the start of the 2017 Major League Soccer (MLS) preseason.
The fieldhouse is being designed by Acton Ostry Architects, an award-winning architectural firm based in Vancouver, in collaboration with BBB Architects, internationally recognized sports architects who recently completed the Kia Toronto FC Training Ground & Academy. In total, the multi-campus NSDC includes seven fields – two artificial turf fields at Simon Fraser University, and three grass and two artificial turf fields at UBC.
“Today marks another important milestone for our club and another step forward in our partnership with UBC,” said Whitecaps FC president Bob Lenarduzzi. “We’re thrilled to be launching our USL PRO team at UBC. We have many talented young players at our club, including nine Residency products who recently did very well internationally with our Canadian U-20 men’s national team. WFC2 will allow them to continue their development against quality competition, including our fellow Cascadia rivals from Seattle and Portland. Along with the renderings of our new training facility, we have a clear view into our future. These initiatives will provide a positive impact and lasting legacy for Whitecaps FC, Canadian soccer, UBC, and the community at large.”
“This partnership with Whitecaps FC and the provincial government will allow for a greater student and community participation in field sports and will provide exceptional experiences for soccer fans,” said UBC president Arvind Gupta. “Having Whitecaps FC and varsity soccer programs here at UBC will inspire our students to pursue their passions and will further strengthen our successful Athletics program.”
Whitecaps FC 2 matches will be a unique, affordable experience for soccer fans, families, students, and supporters. The club is now accepting $50 deposits on Season Tickets, which start at $118 plus applicable fees – just $8 per match – for current MLS Season Ticket Holders and the UBC campus community including residents, students, staff, and faculty. A limited supply of family packs are also available, starting at $199. For more information on all ticket options go to whitecapsfc2.com or call 604.669.9283 ext.1.
Fans who act now will also join the WFC2 Starting 11, recognizing the starting 1,100 Season Ticket Holders of the inaugural WFC2 season and guaranteeing the lowest Season Ticket price for every future season. Starting 11 members will be provided exclusive rights such as voting on which kit the team will wear for each (home) match, winning a jersey off the back of a player, and two additional ambassador tickets to share with friends or family who have not attended a WFC2 match.
As a bridge between the club’s Residency program and MLS first team, WFC2 will replace the club’s U-23 team and allow promising young players to develop in a competitive professional environment. Whitecaps FC are the seventh MLS club to officially field a team in USL PRO for the 2015 season, joining Cascadia rivals Portland Timbers (T2) and Seattle Sounders FC (Sounders FC 2), as well as LA Galaxy (LA Galaxy II), Montreal Impact (FC Montreal), Real Salt Lake (Real Monarchs), and Toronto FC. All MLS clubs are expected to either field their own team or have an affiliate in USL PRO next season.
In September 2012, Whitecaps FC, UBC, and the B.C. government announced a joint initiative to construct and operate a shared-use soccer training facility at UBC. In February 2013, an improved grass field and locker room access was completed.
In addition to Whitecaps FC’s MLS team, the NSDC will become the permanent training home for the club’s USL PRO and youth sides, as well as UBC’s varsity teams, student recreation participants and community partners. Once completed, the NSDC at UBC will include five constructed, refurbished, and improved fields – three grass and two artificial turf – as well as the new 35,000+ square foot fieldhouse.
The high performance training centre will create important recreational and high performance sports legacies for the UBC community, providing a major upgrade in facilities, including washrooms, change rooms, multi-use space, concessions, and classrooms.
The NSDC will provide not only Whitecaps FC and UBC with state-of-the-art facilities and fields, but will be accessible to recreation leagues from across the city. The project is well underway with the near completion of UBC’s Varsity Turf Field now located at Wolfson West Field.
“This world-class facility will be a hub of community activity for recreational, competitive and professional soccer players,” said Coralee Oakes, minister of community, sport and cultural development. “The centre will also be a tremendous draw for future hosting opportunities at a time when sport tourism is the fastest growing segment of B.C.’s tourism industry.”
ABOUT USL PRO
USL PRO is the strongest U.S. and Canadian men’s professional soccer league on and off the field below and in support of Major League Soccer (MLS). Focused on league stability and franchise performance longevity, USL PRO featured 14 teams in 2014, including expansion teams in Los Angeles, Oklahoma City and Sacramento. Teams have already been announced for 2015 in Austin, Charlotte, Colorado Springs, Louisville, Montreal, Portland, Salt Lake City, Seattle, St. Louis, Toronto, and Tulsa, with more additions expected soon. Through aggressive and deliberate growth in adding teams fully capable of meeting USL and US Soccer standards, USL PRO is building a robust, national professional soccer league in a format that promotes the benefits of regional league play. In 2013 USL PRO began a groundbreaking, multi-year partnership with MLS that features individual team affiliations or the opportunity for MLS clubs to field a team in USL PRO.