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Vancouver Whitecaps win NASL championship

It's been called "the beautiful game." Soccer, the most popular sport in the world, draws an unwavering devotion from its fans. Yet soccer as a spectator sport has never quite caught on in Canada, despite growing youth participation rates and a series of professional leagues. Still, we've had star players and tasted World Cup play, and many immigrant communities have imported their passion to Canada. CBC Archives looks at soccer in the Great White North.

In 1979, success-starved sports fans in Vancouver turn out in droves to celebrate the Vancouver Whitecaps. The team has just returned from East Rutherford, N.J., where it won the North American Soccer League's Soccer Bowl championship, by defeating the Tampa Bay Rowdies 2-1. As seen in this report from The National, over 30,000 people line the parade route as a pickup truck full of Whitecaps players rolls by, holding high the championship trophy.
• The Vancouver Whitecaps were active from 1974-84. The team played at Vancouver's 32,000-seat Empire Stadium for most of its existence before moving into the new 60,000-seat BC Place in 1983. The club featured Canadian soccer players Bobby and Sam Lenarduzzi, Buzz Parsons and Glen Johnson, as well as international players such as Alan Ball. The 1979 season was by far the most successful in the franchise's short history.
  • The Whitecaps name may refer to one of three professional soccer franchises: 1) The Whitecaps of the North American Soccer League (NASL) is the team featured in this report; 2) The Whitecaps FC are a former member of the Canadian Soccer League and United Soccer Leagues First Division. In 2010, they are a member of the USSF Division 2, a league created to temporarily meld two feuding leagues, the United Soccer Leagues and the newly created North American Soccer League. In 2011, the Whitecaps will be the name of the Vancouver franchise in the new North American Soccer League (NASL), once the league is sanctioned; and 3) The Vancouver Whitecaps Women are a member of the United Soccer Leagues W-League.

Medium: Television
Program: The National
Broadcast Date: Sept. 9, 1979
Host: George McLean
Reporter: Blair Griffiths
Duration: 1:18

Last updated: February 16, 2012

Page consulted on December 6, 2013

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