British Columbia

Whitecaps fan club cancels U.S. away trips due to Trump travel ban

The Southsiders, a group of Vancouver Whitecaps supporters, are no longer organizing their usual away trips to the U.S. following President Donald Trump's travel ban, which they say affects some of their members.

Southsiders say if some can't go, none will, because their policy is no one gets left behind

The Vancouver Southsiders — who describe themselves as the loudest and proudest supporters of the Vancouver Whitecaps FC — have decided to cancel bus trips to U.S. away games because some of their members are no longer be able to cross the border, due to Trump's new travel ban. (Duncan Nicol/Vancouver Southsiders)

The Southsiders, a "loud and proud" squad of Vancouver Whitecaps' fans, are taking a stance against U.S. President Donald Trump's executive order enacting a travel ban against citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries.

The fan group will no longer organize its traditional away trips to Seattle and Portland because it is worried not all members would be able to attend.

In previous seasons, the group usually sent two or three buses to each city for the professional soccer team's games.

Southsiders president Peter Czimmermann said the group simply wants to include everybody.

"We heard reports from some of our members that they would be impacted by this ban. This means some of us would be left behind which is against our policy and our principles," he explained.

Czimmermann estimates only a few members are directly affected by the ban, but many others expressed concerns about being subjected to interrogation or delay at the border.

The bus trips were a popular event and canceling the trips was difficult, he said, but it was the right thing to do.

"The bus trips to Seattle and Portland are bar none the best days. It lets us bond and enjoy being together. Personally, I've been to all these games in the past five, six years now. It's really hard not to go and not to support the Caps," he said.

The group — which Czimmermann says has 600 to 700 paid members but a much larger stadium presence — said it is up to individual members to decide whether to attend U.S. away games and it will still have tickets allocated for the U.S. games to facilitate attendance.

The group is asking, however, members who do go to the U.S. leave their Southsiders scarf at home "as a sign of respect for members who cannot cross the border with the same ease and personal freedom as you do."

Trump's travel ban currently bans all Syrian refugees for an unstated amount of time, other refugees for at least four months and citizens from Yemen, Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Iraq, Libya and Iran for 90 days.  Czimmermann said they will continue to monitor the situation for any changes.

With files from The Early Edition

To listen to the interview, click on the link labelled Vancouver Southsiders cancel U.S. away trips due to Trump ban


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