Whitecaps FC announce bid to bring USL PRO soccer to New Westminster

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The MLS Vancouver Whitecaps FC and the City of New Westminster are working towards the launch of a United Soccer Leagues (USL) PRO franchise at Queen’s Park Stadium.

“We are thrilled to announce our efforts with the City of New Westminster to bring a new professional soccer team to its vibrant sports and family oriented community,” said club president Bob Lenarduzzi. “A USL PRO franchise in our own backyard is an important step in our efforts to support the development of players, especially young Canadians, at every level by bridging the pathway to our Major Soccer League team, as well as the national team.”

The proposed professional team is in addition to the MLS Whitecaps FC and will be co-owned and operated by Ian Gillespie of Westbank Projects Corp. Gary Pooni of Brook Pooni Associates.

“There is a lot of work ahead, but we’re looking forward to working with the City of New Westminster and all of its stakeholders to make this vision a reality and provide a significant community asset for years to come,” added Lenarduzzi.

If approved, Queen’s Park Stadium will be the intended home pitch of the franchise. Upgrades are slated for the stadium, including a new turf field, video scoreboard, and improved lighting.

In contrast to Burnaby’s Swangard Stadium’s 5,300 seat capacity, which was the home of the Vancouver Whitecaps during their USL era prior to entry into the MLS, Queen’s Park Stadium currently has a seating capacity of 2,000.

If the franchise is approved this fall, the first USL PRO season in New Westminster will begin in March 2015.

The upgraded venue may also see match action from other Whitecaps FC teams including the Girls Elite U-18 team and the Boys U-16 and U-18 Residency sides, as well as other grassroots programs and activities.

Featured Image: Soccer ball kick via Shutterstock

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