Today is a very exciting day. It’s the beginning of the Vancouver Whitecaps 2020-2021 season! If you’ve known me since childhood, you know that I spent the fall and sometimes spring playing soccer three times a week. If you know “career” Julia, you know that I’ve spent a lot of Saturdays and Sundays at BC Place watching the Vancouver Whitecaps with my dad, Jeff.
This marks 5 years as season ticket holders for me and my dad*. But we’ve been going regularly to games since I graduated university. However, our Whitecaps journey began way before then.
*Note: the grammar person in me is getting anxiety for using the numeric “5” instead of spelling it out, but writing out five would not do it justice/give it the emphasis that it needs.
Growing up, my sister and I were very lucky because our dad would take us to sporting events with him. I remember telling Grizzlies’ cheerleaders that I wanted to be them when I grew up. And I remember watching the Westcoast Express in what was called “GM Place” back then. But my favourite memories were watching the Whitecaps double headers with my dad at Swangard Stadium.
Before the Whitecaps became an MLS team, they played on Boundary Road at Swangard Stadium. It was a very different experience from the highly-produced environment that they play in now, but the vibe was very unique. If you watched soccer games at Swangard Stadium, you were a pretty legit soccer fan.
At the time, I remember closely following the 2002 FIFA U19 Canadian Women’s Soccer team. The team boasted players like Christine Sinclair, Kara Lang, and Erin McLeod. Yes, that Christine Sinclair. The soccer player with the world’s all-time leader for international goals scored for men or women with 186 goals. She has been playing internationally for about 20 years.
Christine Sinclair was a member of the Vancouver Whitecaps Women’s team for a couple of years. A double-header game would include one game for women and one game for men. I’m sure there were lots of great male soccer players, but watching these incredible and international women soccer stars play at Swangard Stadium was a very exciting experience. I knew I would never make it to that level, but having soccer players to look up to was special. I also thought it was super cool that they played at the same location that I once competed for Grade 6 Catholic Schools Track and Field Shotput.
The beginning of the Whitecaps season always brings back fond memories from even before my time of being a season ticket holder. After five years, we get to go back to the same section and same seats with other season ticket holders that we’ve become friendly with over the years. We also get to catch up with Terry, the best usher at BC Place. Terry has been the usher of our section for quite some time now and he always takes the time to ask me how married life, work, etc. is going. The beginning of a new season definitely has the same excitement as the first day of school.
There will be many new faces on the pitch this season, but I’m hoping that we have the same momentum that the Vancouver Canucks are having right now. We’ve had a couple of tough seasons these past two years as Whitecaps fans. But I’m feeling optimistic!
Go ‘Caps Go!