A new stadium for the Whitecaps?

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Running to stand still, originally uploaded by Jeffery Simpson.

There’s a good article about the Vancouver Whitecaps in the Georgia Straight [gs]. It takes a look both at the new soccer stadium they want to get built down by the Seabuses downtown and about how the team has yet to reflect the ethnic makeup of Vancouver.

You know like the Canucks reflect Vancouver’s ethnic makeup which consists of Canadians, violent Canadians, Swedes and Swedish twins.

Anyway if the city gives the go ahead on the construction of the stadium it’ll be quite exciting. A new facility will help the Whitecaps become more of a focus in the city, and hopefully help soccer development in Vancouver from the youth levels and up.

As a descendant of Portuguese soccer players, John Rocha might have had it rough growing up in hockey-happy Kitimat. The northern B.C. town boasts long, snowy winters, Alcan, and two ice rinks for a town of 12,000 folk. But it wasn’t your average mill town. Thanks to economic opportunities, Kitimat in the 1970s and ’80s attracted Indian, Greek, Italian, and Portuguese immigrants, possible the most diverse town in the North, Rocha said.

“Soccer was like a glue,” Rocha, now the president of the Vancouver Whitecaps Football Club, told the Georgia Straight in an interview at the Whitecaps’ downtown offices. “It really helped me appreciate my own culture and the cultures of others.”

As a member of the Vancouver Multicultural Society, Rocha said he would like to help glue together Vancouver’s communities, too, through soccer.

The ultimate symbol of this aspiration? A 15,000-seat stadium shrine to Vancouver’s diversity in the heart of downtown, adjacent to the SeaBus terminal. If approved by Vancouver city council on June 13, it will overlook the water and replace Burnaby’s Swangard Stadium as the Whitecaps’ home by 2009.

“We want this to be about a lot of things: sustainability, internationalism, a gateway,” he said. “Soccer connects all of that.”

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