Author Topic: Vancouver Whitecaps  (Read 2497 times)

Offline David

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Vancouver Whitecaps
« on: May 16, 2009, 04:49:04 PM »
Women's soccer moves to centre stage
Some former Whitecaps stars have moved to the WPS league, but the local team shouldn't suffer
The Vancouver Whitecaps women launch their 2009 season today in a USL W-League missing some of its most familiar names.

Former Caps stars such as Christine Sinclair, Erin McLeod, Candace Chapman and Martina Franko now play in the new top-flight Women’s Professional Soccer league in the U.S.

While the roster may have lost some of its sizzle, no one seems to be too worried about it. The Whitecaps insist they will still play at a “very high level” and soccer and marketing experts say the new league should do wonders for the sport, in the United States, Canada and beyond.

Indeed, the advent of the fledgling, seven-team WPS this spring thrust women’s soccer onto centre stage, with officials able to boast about international stars like Brazilian striker Marta and Japanese midfielder Aya Miyama.

The principal investors are NBA star Steve Nash and former Yahoo! president Jeff Mallett — both part-owners of the Vancouver Major League Soccer team that begins play in 2011.

Mallett believes the women’s game has never been stronger in North America, especially in terms of quality. He said the high level of coaching and play now prevalent throughout the U.S. university and college system continues to produce great players.

“The game has improved to the point where it has become much more watchable and enjoyable for traditional soccer fans,” he said. “The speed of play has improved; the women are better athletes and they possess far better ball skills.”

The league hopes to attract soccer-knowledgeable women aged 12 to 40, along with male “sports nuts” who realize the league features more Olympians than any other league in the world.

Mallett also hopes to avoid some of the mistakes made by his league’s predecessor, the Women’s United Soccer Association (WUSA). Created amid the hoopla surrounding the U.S. World Cup win in 1999, it folded after the 2003 season.

Unlike WUSA, which played in large venues and had a relatively large salary cap, Mallett said WPS has a “very, very pragmatic” business model.

WPS teams have salary caps of about $600,000 and pay players an average salary of $32,000 USover six months. The salary cap for the old league was $825,000 in 2003, with an average salary of about $45,000. (Whitecaps women are not paid a salary, although their expenses are covered.)

Mallett said the “break-even” WPS plan calls for average game attendance of 4,000 to 6,000; after seven weeks of play, the league expects to average 5,380 fans per game.

WPS has also partnered with Major League Soccer — something the old league refused to do — by hooking up with the MLS marketing subsidiary — Soccer United Marketing. Mallett said that has given his league more credibility and a proven sales channel.

The recession has created some challenges in attracting corporate sponsors, but the league does have a four-year sponsorship deal with Puma that’s believed to be worth about $10 million.

Derek Aframe, vice-president of sports marketing firm Octagon, said the recession might actually help the league, since it offers affordable ticket prices, averaging around $16.

“They can say they have an exciting new sport with the world’s best women athletes in an affordable, family-friendly environment,” he said.

Aframe said the fact the new league attracted Marta — a three-time FIFA Player of the Year — bodes well for its future global appeal, although the slowing economy likely will delay profitability and expansion targets.

“But the long-term macroeconomic factors are all in favour of women’s soccer,” he said. “It’s the world’s game and the increasing multi-cultural makeup of the Canadian and American fan base demonstrates this is a sport that people can embrace.”

Whitecaps president Bob Lenarduzzi said his organization considered joining WPS, but wanted to field a national team with the best Canadian players.

“That didn’t materialize primarily because the [Canadian Soccer Association] was not interested,” he said.

Lenarduzzi believes the relationship between WPS and the W-League is similar to the one that exists between MLS and USL.

“It’s another level of elite soccer that girls can aspire to,” he said. “The WPS provides a greater awareness for women’s soccer, which I think helps the game in general.”

The Canadian game in particular could also get a boost. Lenarduzzi said the longer WPS season and strong competition within the league can only help the eight Canadians who play in the new league prepare for international competition. Christine Latham, Kelly Parker, Karina LeBlanc and Melissa Tancredi are the other Canadians in WPS.

Lenarduzzi said future expansion into the league is always possible, but not until the Whitecaps perfect the MLS operation.

“Before we get two teams that require a significant investment, we want to make sure we get one right before we jump into the other,” he said. “It’s probably useful to sit back and see how [WPS] evolves and what kind of investment would be required to participate.”

The Whitecaps men’s and women’s teams both lose money, but with the men starting play in MLS in two years, Lenarduzzi hopes it will require “less of an investment” by owner Greg Kerfoot.

As for the women’s team the Whitecaps will field this year, head coach Alan Koch isn’t complaining. They’ll play a control-and-possession attacking style of soccer that dictates how the game is played.

“The group we have are very, very close to the level of the few players that we’ve lost,” he said. “I don’t think fans will see much of a drop in the level of play by any means.”

Likely stars include defender Shannon Woeller, midfielders Chelsea Stewart and Monica Lam-Feist and forward Jodi-Ann Robinson.

“These are young players that are getting better every single year,” Koch said, “and hopefully will have big seasons for us.”

• The 2004 and 2006 W-League champion Whitecaps play a 12-game regular season this year, with four home games at Swangard and two at SFU Terry Fox Field.

Offline redrobin

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Re: Vancouver Whitecaps
« Reply #1 on: May 20, 2009, 01:28:59 PM »
Whitecaps re-sign six women
13th May 2009

Vancouver Whitecaps FC announce the re-signing of midfielders Paige Adams, Sophie Schmidt, and Chelsea Stewart, as well as strikers Kirsteen Buchan, Amy Vermeulen, and Nikki Wright, for the 2009 United Soccer Leagues (USL) W-League season.

Adams, 19-years-old, returns to the Whitecaps for her fourth year with the women's team. Adams, who was born in Nanaimo, BC, and raised in Port Coquitlam, BC, played in five matches for 292 minutes of action last season. In total, the midfielder has appeared in 22 games for 942 minutes, having being a member of the Whitecaps 2006 W-League championship team. Adams is also a member of Canada's U-20 national team, where she represented her country at both the 2006 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Russia and the 2008 CONCACAF Women's U-20 Championship in Puebla, Mexico. Adams scored the first of her two U-20 goals in a 1-1 draw with Brazil on April 22, 2006, and has gone on to earn 22 U-20 international caps for Canada during that time. The 5-foot-5 forward was also a member of the Coquitlam City Wild Metro team that won four straight British Columbia Provincial Cup titles.

Schmidt, 20, returns for her fifth year with the Whitecaps after beginning her W-League career with the club as a 16-year-old back in 2005. Last season, Schmidt appeared in four matches for the Whitecaps, notching two assists. In four years with Vancouver, Schmidt has amassed 2,807 minutes of action in 34 total appearances, scoring four goals and adding five assists. In 2006, she was an integral part of the Whitecaps squad that captured the W-League championship. Born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and raised in Abbotsford, BC, Schmidt has been a regular selection in Canada’s national team program since making her international debut with the U-20 squad on November 11, 2004. Since her debut, Schmidt has represented Canada at the 2004 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Thailand, the 2006 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Russia, the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup in China, the 2008 CONCACAF Women’s U-20 Championship in Mexico, and the 2008 Beijing Olympics. In total, the midfielder has earned 29 caps with Canada's U-20 side and 43 caps with the senior national team, scoring three goals in the process.

Stewart, 19, returns for a second year with the 'Caps after making six league appearances in 2008. Before joining the club, Stewart played youth soccer with Colorado Rush and Real Colorado youth teams, capturing state championship titles from 2003 to 2006, as well as a U.S. national championship title in 2006. Internationally, Stewart has earned 15 caps for Canada’s U-20 national team, scoring two goals in the process. She was a member of the U-20 team that won the 2008 CONCACAF Women’s U-20 Championship in Mexico, and part of the squad that appeared at the 2008 FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup in Chile. The 5-foot-5 midfielder has also earned four caps with Canada's senior national team, having appeared in four matches at the 2009 Cyprus Cup tournament.

Buchan, 28, will enter her fourth season with the 'Caps after playing four games in 2008 for a total of 172 minutes of action. The native of North Vancouver, BC, who was a member of the ‘Caps team that won W-League championship title in 2006, has played 17 total matches for Vancouver, recording one goal and one assist. Prior to joining the Whitecaps first team last season, the 5-foot-7 forward was a member of the Whitecaps Prospects Women’s side, where she made five appearances for the team in the Pacific Coast Soccer League (PCSL). Between 1999 and 2002, Buchan attended the University of San Francisco, where she netted 10 goals and added eight assists in her four years with the program.

Vermeulen, 25, returns for her second season with the 'Caps. In her first match with the club on June 11, 2008, the native of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, scored both goals in a 2-1 victory over Los Angeles Legends. In total, Vermeulen made six appearances with the 'Caps last season, scoring three goals. As a member of Canada's U-20 national team, Vermeulen scored four goals in 26 appearances. She played her first match with Canada's senior national team in a 1-0 victory over France on August 26, 2006. Since then, the 5-foot-7 forward has earned 12 international caps and scored one goal for her country. The striker also played NCAA women's soccer with the University of Wisconsin from 2000 to 2004. As a member of the Badgers, she was involved in both the soccer and hockey programs.

Wright, 18, will be playing her first full season with the Whitecaps in 2009. Last season, the striker was a member of the Whitecaps Prospects Women's side that finished second in the PCSL standings after making 12 appearances for the team. She also made a late substitute appearance for the women's side, as the 'Caps fell 4-0 away to eventual W-League champions Pali Blues on June 15, 2008. The striker also had an impressive first year with Trinity Western University in 2008, as she claimed Canada West Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year honours with the Spartans. The 5-foot-7 forward was also a Canada West First Team All-Star and a finalist for the Canadian Interuniversity Sport Player of the Year award. The native of Cloverdale, BC, graduated from Langley Secondary School in Langley, BC, in 2008 after leading the Saints to a Fraser Valley high school championship title in the fall of 2007.

Offline redrobin

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Re: Vancouver Whitecaps
« Reply #2 on: May 20, 2009, 01:33:53 PM »
Whitecaps women re-sign six - that's another six
May 15th 2009

Vancouver Whitecaps FC announce the signings of six more players to their women's team for the 2009 United Soccer Leagues (USL) W-League season.

Goalkeepers Sian Bagshawe, Jaclyn Dunnett, and Stephanie Panozzo, defender Gillian Hicks, and midfielders Rosalyn Hicks and Katie Thorlakson all return to the club for the 2009 campaign.

Bagshawe, 29, returns for her seventh season with the Whitecaps. In 2008, the 5-foot-7 goalkeeper played four matches for 360 minutes of action. In her six years with the club, the North Vancouver, BC, native is the Whitecaps all-time leader in goalkeeping appearances, having played a total of 36 matches for 3,009 minutes of action going back to her first season in 2002. This includes an all-time record of 27 wins and seven defeats, while her record of 16 clean sheets puts her second all-time amongst Whitecaps goalkeepers on the team's career leader list. Before joining the club, Bagshawe was standout at the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) level with the University of British Columbia from 1997 to 2001.

Dunnett, 21, returns for her third season with the Whitecaps. Her last appearance with the club was in 2007 when she played just one match. In 2006, Dunnett guided University of British Columbia to their third CIS women's soccer championship in five years. The Burnaby, BC, native played in 20 matches for the Thunderbirds, posting a 10-4-2 record and a 0.56 goals-against-average. For her efforts, the 5-foot-10 shot-stopper was named CIS First Team All-Canadian and a Canada West First Team All-Star. Dunnett was also a member of Canada's U-20 national team, having made two appearances. This included sharing a clean sheet during Canada's 3-0 win over Australia on August 12, 2006.

Panozzo, who turns 19 today, returns for her third season with the Whitecaps. A product of the Whitecaps Prospects program, the 5-foot-6 helped the Whitecaps Development squad claim the Keg Spring Cup title at the University of Victoria in March 2008. The goalkeeper's young career has included time with Canada's U-15 and U-16 national team programs, as well as a successful run representing British Columbia at youth level. With the BC provincial team, Panozzo won gold and silver medals at the Canadian All-Star championships. The young shot-stopper also played youth soccer with Maple Ridge's Golden Ears United Soccer Club before joining the North Shore Girls Soccer Club from U-13 to U-17 level. Panozzo graduated from Maple Ridge Secondary School in 2008 and is currently attending the University of Illinois.

Rosalyn Hicks, 28, returns for her seventh year with the Whitecaps. Last year, Hicks played six matches for 295 minutes of action with the Whitecaps. In 2007, following a two-year hiatus, the midfielder played 95 minutes over the course of three matches, claiming one assist in the process. She currently ranks 11th amongst Whitecaps career leaders with 23 points from 34 matches played. In addition to her time with the Whitecaps, the 5-foot-5 native of North Vancouver, BC, enjoyed a successful collegiate career with University of British Columbia, where she led her team to consecutive CIS championship titles in 2002 and 2003. In the 2003 championship game, Hicks scored a hat-trick in a 5-0 victory over University of Ottawa before earning the championship MVP honour. In the 2002 championship game, she scored the overtime winner against hosts University of Alberta. She was also named Canada West playoff MVP and to the CIS Championship All-Star team in 2002.

Gillian Hicks, 31, returns to the club after last appearing for the Whitecaps back in 2003. The defender made 25 total appearances for 1,525 minutes of action between the 2001 and 2003, scoring one goal in the process. Before joining the Whitecaps, Hicks played five years of CIS women's soccer with University of British Columbia.

Thorlakson, 24, returns to the Whitecaps after playing with the club from 2003 to 2006. The 5-foot-4 striker was part of the 2004 W-League championship-winning squad and ranks ninth all-time amongst Whitecaps players with 30 points in 17 matches played. On the international stage, Thorlakson made her U-20 debut for Canada on May 30, 2002, in a 4-0 victory over Italy before representing her country during Canada's hosting of the 2002 FIFA U-20 World Cup. She also helped Canada to the 2004 CONCACAF U-20 Women's Championship title. She was only 19 when she won her first senior international cap with Canada in a 3-0 away defeat to Japan on July 30, 2004. She has since earned 23 senior international caps, scoring two goals. A native of Langley, BC, Thorlakson was also part of the senior squad that represented Canada at the 2007 FIFA Women's World Cup in China.