Vancouver Whitecaps FC is a Canadian professional soccer team that competes in the Western Conference of Major League Soccer (MLS). The first team to use the “Whitecaps” name was the Vancouver Whitecaps of the now-defunct North American Soccer League, playing from December 11, 1973, to 1984. Their name’s author is Denny Veitch, the first general manager of the club from NASL. It came to him while he was driving across Lions Gate Bridge on a beautiful sunny afternoon. He looked down, saw the whitecaps on the Pacific Ocean, looked up, and saw the whitecaps in the mountains.
Vancouver Whitecaps started operations in November 1985 by the community-owned West Coast Soccer Society. However, the franchise was named this way only in 2000, and it was known as Vancouver 86ers before. The Vancouver 86ers were so named because of the team’s founding – 1986, the 86 principals underwriting the club, and commemorating the year, the city of Vancouver was founded (1886).
There were many ties between the Whitecaps and the 86ers, such as shareholders, managers, coaches, and soccer players. Tony Waiters, Les Wilson, and Dave Fryatt were the first franchise holders granted Vancouver’s rights on July 26, 1986. They made several attempts to purchase the Whitecaps name; however, the name was not for sale, or the owner wanted too much money for the cash strapped community-owned club.
In 1991, the CSL also folded, and 86ers joined the American Professional Soccer League. The Whitecaps played in several different leagues (such as A-League and USL-1) until its first game MLS in 2011. David Stadnyk bought the franchise in August 2000. On October 26, 2000, after widespread public support, the 86ers formally changed their name back to the Whitecaps. Their new owner purchased the naming rights from former NASL Whitecaps director John Laxton. In 2003, they added FC (Football Club) to the name, because Greg Kerfoot, who took ownership of the Whitecaps on November 13, 2002, reshaped the organization into a football club with men’s, women’s and youth teams.
They also gradually added the “Vancouver” back into their name, changing it officially to “Vancouver Whitecaps FC” in 2006. On March 18, 2009, and an ownership group led by principal Greg Kerfoot was granted a Major League Soccer expansion franchise, which began to play in 2011 under the name Vancouver Whitecaps FC. Vancouver Whitecaps FC is owned by a group of four investors: Greg Kerfoot (majority owner of the franchise), Steve Nash (NBA Most Valuable Player), Jeff Mallett (a former chief operating officer of Yahoo!) and Steve Luczo (a president of Seagate Technology).
Meaning and History
From 1974 to 1984, the team competed in the North American Soccer League and wore two different logos. The first Whitecaps logo represented the Whitecaps as a Canadian soccer club. In essence, a red and white soccer ball with a Canadian maple leaf in the center and the team’s name on top was the Whitecaps’ face until the second logo was unveiled. The first Whitecaps logo makeover saw the red and white traded in for white and blue. The second face of the club brought a soccer ball carried by blue and white-capped waves into Vancouver. The Vancouver Eighty-Sixers wore a red and yellow coat of arms until the Vancouver team was reborn and back in blue and white. The Whitecaps are reborn again – this time in the MLS when the team will start another chapter in team history in 2010.
1995 – 2000
2001 – 2010
2011 – today
On June 8, 2010, it was officially announced the club would continue using the “Whitecaps” name in MLS, but with a redesigned Vancouver Whitecaps logo. The logo has an irregular shape: three rhombi, one of which overlaps the other two. The full team name is across the geometric figures. The font is classic, sans-serif. The word “Whitecaps” is under “Vancouver,” just like on the original logo of the 70s.
There are wide white stripes on the Whitecaps FC logo. They form three corners facing upward. By design, they are snow-capped mountains to the north of Vancouver. The same corners facing downward are under “Vancouver Whitecaps FC.” This is a mirror image of the Pacific Ocean’s white-capped waves to the west. Navy blue background (“deep sea”) represents the maritime landscape of the Vancouver area.
New Vancouver Whitecaps emblem represents the natural landscape and the rich history of the soccer club. The logo uses a light blue color (“Whitecaps blue”), which alludes to the primary color of the original Whitecaps, winners of Soccer Bowl 1979. The silver outline pays homage to the team’s championship victories since 1974.