A little bit of history was made as WFC2 played their first ever home match on a beautiful, sunny afternoon on Sunday. As we walked towards the stadium alongside supporters, you could feel the excitement growing as we got closer to Thunderbird Stadium at the ever beautiful UBC campus (yes, I am a UBC alum, go T-Birds!). You could tell there was something special brewing in the air.
Once we got there, it was palpable that the club had put in a great deal of effort to ensure that the day's festivities went without a hitch. Whenever you organize a large event for the first time there are always learnings to be taken away, and I am sure that the long lines that supporters endured at some of the concessions is something that will be addressed in future matches.
Aside from that, it was a fantastic affair. Live music was playing, children were honing their football skills in the family zone, and Whitecaps captain Pedro Morales was signing autographs, taking photos with supporters and kissing babies. The occasion reminded me of the picnics that my school used to organize. It was all good family fun with the bonus that you get to watch a professional football match on top of it.
But don't get me wrong. The "classic" football atmosphere was, by no means, missing once the referee blew the first whistle. A huge shout out has to go to the supporters section who were, as always, a key factor in replicating that atmosphere that we love at BC Place. The cheers, chants and support also quickly reminded me that we were there to watch some of the club's potential brightest stars continue their development in a professional environment.
Some of the MLS players and coaching staff made a cameo appearance at Thunderbird Stadium upon their return from Utah were they earned an important victory at Rio Tinto Stadium the night before. Seeing players like David Ousted, Russell Teibert, Sam Adekugbe, Kianz Froese, and Kekuta Manneh, alongside the entire coaching staff only goes to show the importance that WFC2 has in the development pyramid of the club. It shows unity across all levels of the Whitecaps organization from ownership, technical staff, players, media and, of course, supporters.
Yes, the result may not have been the ideal. However, it was an entertaining draw and a game that WFC2 can build on to continue improving in the USL standings. And their opportunity will come next weekend, Sunday April 26th at 3pm when the WFC2 boys take on the Sounders FC 2 side in what will be a great opportunity to avenge that painful 4-0 from a few weeks ago.
Were you at Thunderbird Stadium on Sunday? How was your experience?