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1974-1984 Vancouver Whitecaps

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Vancouver Whitecaps Media GuideNorth American Soccer League (1974-1984)

Born: December 11, 1973 – NASL expansion franchise.
Folded: January 1985



Team Colors:

  • 1977: Red & White
  • 1980: Cyan, Royal Blue & White


Soccer Bowl Champions: 1979


The original Vancouver Whitecaps were British Columbia’s beloved pro soccer club of the 1970’s and early 1980’s.  The club competed in the North American Soccer League from 1974 until 1984.  The ‘Caps also brought an attractive slate of international exhibitions to Vancouver, importing top foreign clubs such as Fluminense, Manchester City, Manchester United, Rangers and Roma for friendly matches and tournaments.  From 1980 to 1984, the Whitecaps played indoor soccer during the winter months.

Vancouver Whitecaps Media GuideOne of the NASL’s top clubs during the late 1970’s, the Whitecaps finest hour came at the conclusion of the 1979 season.  The Whitecaps dispatched the two-time defending champion New York Cosmos in the playoff semi-finals.  Then, on the Cosmos’ home ground at Giants Stadium in New Jersey, the Whitecaps beat the Tampa Bay Rowdies 2-1 in Soccer Bowl ’79 to capture their first and only title.  An estimated 100,000 fans gathered in downtown Vancouver for a parade to honor the team.

Midway through the 1983 season, the Whitecaps left their long-time home at Empire Stadium to move into the 60,000-seat B.C. Place stadium.  The team’s first game at B.C. Place on June 20, 1983 drew 60,342 fans, which set a Canadian pro soccer attendance record which would stand for three decades.

But attendance in the new dome dipped quickly and by the start of the 1984 season, founding owner Herb Capozzi turned over controlling interest in the team to oil millionaire Bob Carter.  Carter’s reign was an embarrassment.  With the club bleeding millions of dollars, Carter made noises about folding the club in the middle of the 1984 NASL season.  The ‘Caps would end up finishing out the year, knocked out in the playoff semi-finals by the Chicago Sting.  While the ‘Caps were playing out what would be their final games in late 1984, Carter was busy getting himself into hot water for lurid S&M hijinks with a pair of underage prostitutes.

Deep in debt, and with the rest of the NASL collapsing around it, the Vancouver Whitecaps declared bankruptcy in January 1985 and went out of business.  The Whitecaps name was revived in 2001 and the “new” Whitecaps now compete in Major League Soccer.


Vancouver Whitecaps Memorabilia


In Memoriam

Alan Ball (Whitecaps ’79-’80) died April 25, 2007 of a heart attack while fighting a fire in his home. Daily Telegraph obituary.

Former Whitecaps GM Peter Bridgwater (’79-’83) passed away from cancer on June 21, 2005.  Soccer America obituary.

Vancouver Whitecaps founder and long-time owner Herb Capozzi died of cancer on November 21, 2011 at age 86.


Vancouver Whitecaps Video

The Whitecaps vs. Montreal Manic at Olympic Stadium in Montreal. August 1, 1981



North American Soccer League Media Guides

North American Soccer League Programs


May 27, 1984 – Vancouver Whitecaps vs. Ajax

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Vancouver Whitecaps vs. AjaxVancouver Whitecaps vs. Ajax (Holland)
May 27, 1984
BC Place
Attendance: 12,509

North American Soccer League Programs
28 pages


A late era international friendly between the original Vancouver Whitecaps of the North American Soccer League (1968-1984) and Holland’s mighty Ajax.   The two clubs met once before in 1981, when the Dutchmen blanked the Whitecaps 4-0 in Amsterdam.

Ajax was wrapping up a brief three-city tour of the NASL that included previous victories over the Toronto Blizzard (1-0) and the Minnesota Strikers (4-2).  The Whitecaps were wrapping up an 11-year run in the NASL.  Both the club and the league were in bad shape by this point.  Just one week following this match, Whitecaps majority owner Bob Carter announced the club was in financial crisis and its existence was day to day.  Vancouver Mayor Michael Harcourt launched a Save The Whitecaps campaign, which fell far short of its targets.  The Whitecaps survived the season thanks only to a seven-figure cash infusion from Carter and his partners in mid-June 1984.

Ajax got the best of it in this match, winning 2-1 thanks to a 75th minute header from substitute Vilco Van Durer.

The Whitecaps, by the way, had a couple of terrific Dutch imports over the years, including long-time Dutch National Team and Ajax defender Rudi Krol and midfielder Frans Thijssen, who was a 1st Team All-NASL performer in 1983 and 1984 and was pictured on the cover of the evening’s match program (above right).



More NASL International Friendlies


Written by AC

June 25th, 2013 at 1:39 am

September 18, 1984 – Chicago Sting vs. Vancouver Whitecaps

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Chicago Sting ProgramChicago Sting vs. Vancouver Whitecaps
September 18, 1984
Comiskey Park
Attendance: 5,484

North American Soccer League Programs
24 pages


This was one of the last games ever played by the venerable North American Soccer League (1968-1984).  Game 1 of the best-of-three Semi-Final playoff series from the NASL’s final season in 1984.

The pitiful crowd of 5,484 that turned out at Chicago’s Comiskey Park to watch the Chicago Sting take on the Vancouver Whitecaps was evidence of the decay that had taken hold of the NASL by this point. In fact, just two weeks earlier Sting owner Lee Stern announced his club’s departure from the NASL after ten seasons, committing full-time to indoor soccer and the Major Indoor Soccer League.

The match itself was tightly contested, as befit two clubs that finished with identical 13-11 records in the regular season.  The game headed into extra time knotted at 0-0 and then into a second overtime period before Whitecaps forward Carl Valentine finally put the winner past Sting goalkeeper Victor Nogueira.

The No. 1-seeded Sting recovered five days later at Vancouver’s B.C. Place, scoring a 3-1 victory to send the series back to Chicago for a deciding Game Three.  Pato Margetic scored twice to lead the Sting to a 4-3 victory and on to Soccer Bowl ’84 against the Toronto Blizzard.  The Sting won the NASL’s final Soccer Bowl in a two-game sweep.  Game 1 on October 1st, 1984 was the last outdoor soccer match the Sting ever hosted.  The game drew only 8,352 to Comiskey Park.  The NASL folded a few months later.

The Sting continued to play indoor soccer for another four seasons, before closing their doors in the summer of 1988.



Chicago Sting Roster, September 18, 1984



Chicago Sting Home Page

Vancouver Whitecaps Home Page



Written by AC

February 9th, 2013 at 6:24 pm

July 15, 1981 – Vancouver Whitecaps vs. Sparta Rotterdam

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Vancouver Whitecaps vs. Sparta Rotterdam (Holland)
July 15, 1981
Empire Stadium
Attendance: 12,882

North American Soccer League Programs
56 pages


I love the look of this match day program from a July 15, 1981 international friendly between the Vancouver Whitecaps of the NASL and visiting Sparta Rotterdam of Holland.  The Whitecaps were one of a handful of NASL clubs – along with the Chicago Sting, New York Cosmos and Seattle Sounders – that supplemented their regular season calendars with intriguing international exhibitions in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s.

During this summer of 1981, Whitecaps fans enjoyed an attractive line-up of international opponents who came to visit old Empire Stadium, including England’s West Bromwich Albion (May 11th), and Manchester City (June 3rd), Italy’s F.C. Napoli (June 29th) and then this match against Holland’s oldest club.

The Whitecaps won this one easily, besting Sparta Rotterdam 4-0.  Among the players for the Dutch side on this evening was 30-year defender Louis Van Gaal who ascended to the position of Dutch National Team coach in 2012.



More NASL International Friendlies

Vancouver Whitecaps Home Page


Written by AC

September 19th, 2012 at 2:44 am


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