Whitecaps FC Community Asset Review – Part 7

Editors’ note: Kurt and John are firm believers that Vancouver can and should be the Canadian epicenter for growing the sport and culture of soccer football soccer. This is a self-described healthy community. We can play outside year-round, as fields are rarely closed due to snow and/or freezing. And, most importantly, Vancouver is the place to expertly develop the sport of soccer because our city’s team, Vancouver Whitecaps FC, shares this goal and so demonstrates this vision through its Club Structure and the Whitecaps Foundation, which aims to create the fittest generation of BC Youth by 2020.

As Vancouver Whitecaps FC season ticket holders, Kurt and John are well-positioned to evaluate how the franchise showcases its commitment to “be a significant community asset” – so, following every match we will reflect on this commitment by answering two questions, which are below. Sometimes we bring friends and/or family-members to the game. And sometimes those awesome friends and/or family-members write awesome blog posts about the experience.

Yesterday’s match was a 1-1 tie against the New York Red Bulls.

HOW IS THE CLUB A SIGNIFICANT COMMUNITY ASSET?

Photo courtesy of MafueOne of the great things about Whitecaps games is they’re generally jammed with positivity and good sportsmanship. On the playing field, players play hard but rarely overly roughly. Diving is kept to a minimum, partly because it doesn’t seem to be part of the North American soccer culture and partly because referees seem uninterested in stopping the play and humouring a player writhing in (pretend) agony unless he was legitimately crunched. While every once and a while you’ll see a body check (half the time by Eric Hassli) that seems to harken to the NHL, most games begin and end relatively clean. There’s doubtlessly yapping on the field, but it’s rare to see it get out of hand. Dirty play is kept to a minimum.

In the stands it is a similar situation. In our section in particular, the cheers tend to be all positive all the time. All the cheers are aimed at buoying the teams spirits, congratulating great moves, hyping up the nearby fans and acknowledging great players. Even when faced with a Red Bull goalie a mere 15 meters away who’s sporting a mullet, it was exceedingly tricky to elicit a hardy “Get a Haircut” chant out of our crew.

All and all, the general “goodness” that seems to be implicit in the Whitecaps generally contrasts with the angry fans you sometimes see out East (see below) or in other sports where it is de rigour to scream nasty things. Indeed, it was this bad behaviour that forced John and I to stand in an empty stadium in Seattle for two hours last year prior to the match to ensure our crew didn’t “mix” with the Seattle Sounders fans. Such were the fears that Vancouver fans would follow in the nasty steps of other soccer thugs.

 WHAT COULD MAKE THE CLUB AN EVEN BETTER ASSET?

On Saturday I attended a game where a group of drucken dudes on a stag started yelling nasty things at the Whitecaps Cheer Captain. “Sit down and watch the game @%%$%@&&”, they screamed.

While these fellows may have been new to the Whitecaps culture or really, really drunk (or both), it would have been nice if the community rallied to let them know their behaviour wasn’t appropriate. I totally understand this is easier said then done (heck, I wasn’t up there telling them to shut up) – but hey, this section is called “What could make the club an even better asset?” Community/crowd engagement of these obnoxious louts would have been nice.