Join Now | 
HomeAboutContact UsPrivacy & SecurityAdvertise
Soccer America DailySpecial EditionAround The NetSoccer Business InsiderCollege Soccer ReporterYouth Soccer ReporterSoccer on TVSoccer America Classifieds
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalkSoccer America ConfidentialYouth Soccer InsiderWorld Cup Watch
RSS FeedsArchivesManage SubscriptionsSubscribe
Order Current IssueSubscribeManage My SubscriptionRenew My SubscriptionGift Subscription
My AccountJoin Now
Tournament CalendarCamps & AcademiesSoccer GlossaryClassifieds
Vancouver comes aboard
by Ridge Mahoney, March 18th, 2009 7AM

MOST READ

MOST COMMENTED

Finally, MLS has docked in Vancouver.

Commissioner Don Garber flew to the Canadian city Tuesday to wrap up final details and attend a press conference Wednesday to announce Vancouver will join MLS as the league's 17th franchise in 2011.

Lead investors Greg Kerfoot and Steve Luzco head a group that includes NBA star Steve Nash and former Yahoo! executive Jeff Mallett as minority partners. The team, expected to use the same Whitecaps nickname as the current USL-1 team as well as a former NASL franchise, is to play in a renovated B.C. Place.

A proposal to build a new facility on the city's waterfront has been stalled for more than a year, but MLS officials, including Garber, have inspected plans  to renovate B.C. Place, which seats 60,000, and approved the facility. It will be renovated in time to host the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2010 Winter Olympics, and a retractable roof is in the plans for MLS operations in 2011.

A section of an air-supported dome, the largest in the world when it was built, collapsed in a heavy snowfall in January 2007. It will be replaced by the retractable roof, and a grass field will replace the current synthetic surface.

Renovations will be funded by the British Colombia government. Estimated costs are $365 million Canadian (approximately U.S. $292 million), with more than half of that sum earmarked for the new roof.

Kerfoot, who built his software company Crystal Decisions into a worldwide operation that employed more than 2,000 people, is chairman of the Whitecaps. Luzco is chairman, president and CEO of Seagate Technology, a manufacturer of hard drives and data storage elements. Nash played soccer as a youth and has also invested in the WPS, along with Mallett, a Vancouver native who was approached by MLS during his time at Yahoo! but decided not to invest in the San Jose Earthquakes.

The announcement comes after years of discussions and talks in Vancouver regarding its entry into MLS and efforts to build a waterfront stadium. An impasse between Kerfoot, who is willing to pay for the stadium himself, and the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority over a proposed land exchange has stymied progress.

Garber declined comment on the Vancouver situation with the official announcement pending, and on another expansion subject, expressed confidence Portland bidder Merritt Paulson and MLS would find a way to fill a $15 million shortfall left when the city council adopted an amendment removing one of the funding mechanisms.

The city council last week approved a proposal to renovate PG&E Park for the MLS team and build a new downtown stadium for the minor-league baseball team at a combined cost of more than $88 million.

"This league believes in rivalries," said Garber, "and with tickets selling so well in Seattle, we think opening up the Northwest with Vancouver and possibly Portland is the way to go."



No comments yet.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Soccer America Daily
What They're Saying: Michael Garcia    
"It is the lack of leadership on these issues within FIFA that leads me to conclude ...
Video Pick: Player loses his wig!    
The 19-year-old defender Baily Cargill was one of the top rated players for second division Bournemouth ...
MLS Trade Central: Wednesday's deals    
MLS and Chivas de Guadalajara reached an agreement regarding Mexican star Erick "Cubo" Torres, who played ...
NASL will open 2015 spring season on April 4    
The North American Soccer League will open its fifth season with the first week of the ...
Las Vegas gets its soccer stadium, too    
It isn't every day that two cities pass measures to build soccer stadiums. Hours after the ...
U.S. Abroad: Midweek Hot (and Cold) List    
John Brooks scored his first goal of the Bundesliga season for Hertha Berlin to open the ...
Road to Vancouver: More to Brazil than Marta    
Marta, whose magnificent performance powered Brazil past the USA Sunday at the Torneio Internacional da Brasilia, ...
TV Report: Fox plans unprecedented coverage    
The 2015 Women's World Cup will receive unprecedented coverage on Fox as it will air 16 ...
Klinsmann red-carded in starring role against Germany    
Jonathan Klinsmann's first international match against Germany, the country his father, Jurgen, played for and coached, ...
Olsen sees new D.C. stadium as one piece of grand plan    
He's D.C. United through and through, so head coach and former player Ben Olsen knows better ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives