"With Olympic boasting power in the city's back pocket and global excitement growing for the upcoming World Cup in South Africa, momentum is rolling for Vancouver to debut a new Major League Soccer team," writes Tamsyn Burgmann. The Vancouver Whitecaps kicked off the one-year countdownto their MLS entry as MLS's 15th season got underway. Vancouver and Portland will be the 17th and 18th franchises to join the league in March 2011.
"I think the entire community here has shown the world in the past month just what a fantastic community it is for organizing world-class sport and for actually delivering it," Whitecaps CEO Paul Barber said, referring to the 2010 Winter Games. "This is a really a good time indeed to be getting involved at the highest level in North America with Major League Soccer."
The Whitecaps will play their first few home games at a 27,500-seat temporary stadium at the Pacific National Exhibition's Empire Fields before moving to a newly renovated BC Place, which is being refurbished and getting a new electronic scoreboard and retractable roof for $458 million. BC Place hosted 60,000 people for the Olympics' opening ceremonies. The Whitecaps will play in the USSF D-2 Pro League this season, hosting games at the 5,000-seat Swangard Stadium, in nearby Burnaby.