Langley Township has teamed up with the Vancouver Whitecaps FC to hold two matches here this season.
McLeod Park will welcome the former Canadian men’s national team head coach Frank Yallop and Arizona United FC on Aug. 21, and the Seattle Sounders FC 2 on Labour Day, Sept. 5, to play against the ’Caps. Both matches will kick off at 3 p.m.
“The Township of Langley is thrilled to welcome Whitecaps FC 2 to our community,” said Mayor Jack Froese. “This will be an excellent opportunity for sports fans to experience this calibre of soccer in their own backyard, and the stadium… [which] will provide the perfect venue for viewing these action-packed matches.”
The WFC2 features 13 players who have either played for international teams or in Canadian nationals, and are considered the future players of the main Whitecaps FC team.
WFC president Bob Lenarduzzi said it was a great chance to engage with local soccer fans. MLS season ticketsholders get the two upcoming games in the Township included.
“We’re very excited to bring professional soccer to Langley with these two USL matches this season,” he said. “There is great passion for the sport and great support for Whitecaps FC in the Fraser Valley.”
He also gave compliments to the stadium, admitting he’s only ever seen it from a distance, but was very impressed with its size and cleanliness.
WFC2 match-day roles will be filled by over 500 local youth players in partnership with the Langley United Soccer Association.
“Our young players look for mentors to idolize and emulate. That’s what Whitecaps FC gives us,” said Mike Thomson, vice president of the association.
Lenarduzzi said the mentorship of younger players is paramount to this partnership.
“It will primarily be younger players coming to the residency, but there will be some older players as well,” he said. “We want to win, absolutely we want to win, but that’s the primary reason.”
“We have a good relationship with the Township, and this is another layer on top of that,” he said.
The Whitecaps will also hold two events at Willoughby Community Park. A free BMO Kickin’ with the ’Caps Community Clinic presented by BC1 is scheduled for boys and girls aged seven to 10 on March 31, and a Skills Camp for players U-6 to U-14 will run from Aug. 29 to Sept. 2.
Froese said this is a great way for the youth to engage in sporting activities with professional players, get exercise and enjoy the outdoors. Plus, he added, it’s not very hard to get into soccer.
“All you need is some shin pads,” he said, prompting laughter from the small audience.