Inside the tunnel

This morning I was given the rare opportunity to watch one of the Vancouver Whitecaps FC final practice sessions before Saturday’s big home-opener against Toronto FC.

Rachel Lewis, Paul Barber, Bob Lenarduzzi

The organization’s top three people gave a brief press conference, thanking the media, the supporters, and the team for bringing so much positive attention to the soccer community. This season’s ticket sales have tripled from previous years, and there are 30 sponsors now on board to help support the Whitecaps organization.

FC Whitecaps practice-47

If you bought tickets to the home opener, consider yourself lucky! Only 1,500 (as I write this) tickets are left, and those have just been released in order to accommodate as many fans as possible. The club is hoping to make the fan experience a first of its kind in North America. 5,000 drums will be handed out to fans wearing their season ticket scarf and they’re encouraging those fans to bring them all season long. No vuvuzelas, please.

There will be a new anthem (written by DJ Kemo) introduced during the opening game.

FC Whitecaps practice-41

According to former coach and Whitecaps President Bob Lenarduzzi, “The sky’s the limit with our club. As we evolve, we’ll continue to get better.”

FC Whitecaps practice-38

Empire Stadium can get cold; fans are asked to dress in warm layers. Wear white to foster Whitecaps pride! It will be a fortress of white (I won’t give all the secrets away, but think white en masse).

FC Whitecaps practice

As far as public transit vs. driving to the stadium is concerned, both extra busses and SkyTrain cars will be in operation during season games. There is onsite limited parking available for $20.

FC Whitecaps practice-33

To help the Japan earthquake victims, Red Cross volunteers will be on hand to collect donations during the game.

These photos make up a bigger Flickr photo set. You can find the rest of my photos here.

me and Carl Valentine

FC Whitecaps practice-48

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