Wednesday, July 18, 2007


The Commissioner of Major League Soccer, Don Garber, officially confirmed today that Vancouver is one of the cities being considered for expansion into Major League Soccer. In an exclusive interview with the league's official website MLSNET.COM, Garber revealed that the league was looking at expansion and Vancouver was a serious candidate.


"When will MLS be expanding to Pacific Northwest/Florida/New York/Philadelphia/Canada?"

Don Garber
"If I answer that here, we certainly won't have much to talk about during the State of the League address tomorrow. I'm well aware that much of the internet traffic and fan buzz recently concerns expansion and all of you know I, and MLS president Mark Abbot, spend a great deal of our time traveling from city to city meeting with potential owners, officials and sports authorities and all others to manage the expansion of the league. I'm very confident that we will be able to announce a 16-team league by the end of the year. It's still a moving target as to what cities will flow in when."

"Can you give us the status on some other markets?"

Don Garber
"There's more interest in MLS expansion than at any other time in the history of the sport in the country. Without prioritizing any one market, here is a rundown of the cities: Vancouver, Portland, Seattle, San Jose, Sacramento, San Diego, San Antonio, St. Louis, Cleveland, Milwaukee, Rochester, New York City, Atlanta, Miami and Las Vegas."

"Has the success of Toronto FC given the MLS a blueprint for success in new markets and the future? And has its success blown your mind over how crazy and how popular it is?

Don Garber
"The answer is to all of that is yes, yes, yes. So the answer to that question is yes, yes, yes. My hat goes off to MLSE who have proven to be terrific operators, who understand the sports business and now the soccer business like few others. From the time we began discussing the opportunity with MLSE to the opening home game, the success they have at home games each week, I'm impressed and thrilled at what we have going on up in Toronto. In many ways it is a blueprint yet every market has its own idiosyncracies, opportunities and challenges. One of the things that has really impressed us, and something we hope to replicate in other markets, is the passionnate involvement of teams' supporters groups, something we hope to replicate in other markets."

Vancouver was the only Canadian city mentioned by the MLS Commissioner on Wednesday.
Major League Soccer expansion in the past has traditionally relied on these factors before teams were able to particpate in North America's top league:

1. An owner with reliable resources to support the franchise. On this front, the Whitecaps are secured.

2. A city with significant soccer interest among the population. On this point, Vancouver has rich soccer culture and the oldest continuous running professional soccer club in Canada.

3. A Soccer Specific Stadium...or concrete, feasible plans to build one.

The third point is entirely in the realm of our City Council. In the coming days, weeks and months, Friends of Soccer are going to do our best to consult with you, work with you and mobilize the entire country to put pressure on City Council to push the stadium forward in time for the 2011 Women's World Cup and a new MLS team.

The time for patience and restraint are over. The people of Vancouver have already said yes four times to the stadium. All that's left is for the Whitecaps & the Port of Vancouver to present a vision for the Waterfront lands and to present a design for the new showcase of Canadian Soccer.

Every stadium we build in this country is a major victory for Canadian Soccer. When Toronto faced their council debate on the first Soccer Specific Stadium in Canada, fans from Vancouver to Bathurst, N.B. voiced their support and encouraged you to contact the elected officials involved.

Now, it's your turn.

It's time for Canadian Soccer Supporters EVERYWHERE to to let Vancouver City Council know how important the stadium is for soccer in this country. Please write city council today at

Please remember, this is just the start. I believe that together, we can set the framework for the creation of soccer specific stadiums and facilities across Canada. I'll write more on this in the coming days.

Please help us...we're reaching a critical time in development of this stadium and Canadian Soccer as a whole. In the coming months, it will be your voice that matters.

Until Kickoff,

Bill Currie

Friends of Soccer


Anonymous said...

Great stuff. Add that to today's Sun article on the $166M economic spinoff from U-20 World Cup and just see where this can take us.

Anonymous said...

Come on Vancouver! Let's get 60,000 fans for the Beckham game! We're already at 36,000 and only singles are left on the Lower Deck.

I think a showing of 60,000 October 3 is imperative to show off Vancouver as a major league sports city and a sellout crowd will show the world that Vancouver can step up to the plate and support a big-time sporting event in huge numbers! We can do it! I hope.

I have fond memories of the first ever event in BC Place on June 19, 1983, the Caps - Sounders game that drew 60,342, which stands even to today as the biggest crowd ever in BC Place!

Can we get 60,000 for Beckham?

Anonymous said...

I think Vancouver much needs a soccer team for the westers Canadians to cheer for, i know ill be cheering until the day, if it comes that Edmonton gets a team