Lively Tales About Dead Teams

June 20, 1983 – Vancouver Whitecaps vs. Seattle Sounders


Vancouver Whitecaps ProgramVancouver Whitecaps vs. Seattle Sounders
June 20, 1983
BC Place
Attendance: 60,342

North American Soccer League Programs
64 pages


Five matches into the 1983 North American Soccer League season, the Vancouver Whitecaps moved out of their long-time home at Empire Stadium into the brand new $126 million BC Place stadium.  The Whitecaps would be one of two anchor tenants, along with the Lions of the Canadian Football League.   Multi-purpose stadia were in vogue at the time and officials hoped the 60,000 seat dome might attract Major League Baseball to Vancouver as well.

The Whitecaps hosted the Seattle Sounders in the first sporting event at BC Place on June 20th, 1983.  The festivities attracted 60,342 fans – on a Monday night, no less – which set an all-time Canadian pro soccer attendance record which stood for nearly three decades.

The star of the match was the Whitecaps’ 22-year old English striker Peter Beardsley.  Beardsley was a peculiarity among NASL players.  A young import who would go on to his greatest success after a few early seasons of seasoning in North America.  The NASL was always heavy on British imports, but most were in their late 20’s to late 30’s with their best days behind them.  Guys like former Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Corrigan of the Seattle Sounders, who Beardsley beat for both Vancouver goals on this night, including the game-winner in the 68th minute.   The ‘Caps won the match 2-1.

In late 1983, BC Place hosted both the NASL’s Soccer Bowl championship match and the CFL’s Grey Cup title game.  Soccer Bowl ’83 attracted more than 53,000 fans despite the fact that the Whitecaps didn’t make the final.  Nevertheless, the move from Empire Stadium to BC Place ushered in rough times for the ‘Caps.  Just one year after the move, the team was on the verge of financial collapse and nearly folded without finishing the 1984 NASL season.  They made it through, but it was a moot point when the entire league folded the following winter.

Peter Beardsley went back to England after the 1983 season and starred for Newcastle United, Liverpool and Everton over the next 15 seasons.  He also earned 59 caps for the English National Team.  Beardsley was inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame in 2007.

On May 12, 2012 the Montreal Impact of Major League Soccer broke the Whitecaps’ 29-year old Canadian attendance record.  60,860 fans turned out at Olympic Stadium to watch the Impact draw David Beckham and the Los Angeles Galaxy.






6-20-1983 Seattle Sounders Roster



Written by AC

July 10th, 2013 at 3:05 am

2 Responses to 'June 20, 1983 – Vancouver Whitecaps vs. Seattle Sounders'

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  1. Here is a web site that talks about BC Place as a baseball stadium.


    11 Jul 13 at 4:52 pm

  2. @RichardLWyatt @footycanuck @soccerreform People forget this old NASL match from 1983 in Van BC with 60k attending


    1 May 15 at 4:59 am

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