Soccer in Vancouver
The CONCACAF (North & Central American & Caribbean nation’s zone) Qualifying Tournament for the London Olympics just concluded Sunday with both the Canadian and American women advancing into the two berths for the Olympic event.
The fact that the Canadians (ranked 7th in the world) and the Americans (ranked 1st) made it to the top two placements for the region was not a surprise, but the size of the crowds in attendance for the games here in the lower mainland has raised some eyebrows.
Early round matches ranged from 5,000 to over 12,000 attendees and were regarded well.
Then as the competition heated up, so did the audience figures.
For their semi-final win against Mexico, Canada drew 22,954 supporters to BC Place.
The final against the US, where the Americans confidently earned a 4-0 victory, counted an even more impressive 25,427 fans.
The excitement and numbers stirred up by this event can only help professional soccer in Vancouver for the ‘Caps.
The MLS team’s pre-season training has fortunately been running concurrently with the women`s event in town and the Vancouver Whitecaps would do well to link their marketing efforts to the excitement over soccer engendered by the success of Canada`s women.
BC Place, with its new configuration for soccer, has proved itself to be a hit as an appealing venue and the opportunity to broaden the Whitecaps fan base needs to be exploited.
Women`s soccer has exploded over the past few years with the addition of extra teams in amateur leagues across the continent to accommodate more interested players. Canada`s lofty world ranking has maintained interest in the sport and with the large numbers of female fans in attendance this week at the CONCACAF Olympics qualifier, it is time for the Whitecaps to promote their women’s team.
This could lead in turn to support for all their teams, particularly the flagship MLS Vancouver Whitecaps squad.
The full 2012 Whitecaps FC Schedule will be posted HERE shortly.