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Vancouver to be introduced as 17th MLS team


Two weeks after being identified as the new front-runner for MLS expansion, the Canadian city of Vancouver has been awarded a franchise that will become the 17th team in Major League Soccer.

MLS officials are in Vancouver this morning for the announcement, which is set for 1pm ET.

Vancouver has edged out remaining finalists Portland, St. Louis and Ottawa for one of the two 2011 expansion berths expected to be awarded. Portland and St. Louis are the favorites for the remaining bid, with various reports identifying Portland as the favorite to join Vancouver.

You can follow today's expansion announcement here.

What do you think of Vancouver being chosen? Who are you hoping is the second expansion team for 2011?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Hockey is, I heard, an extremely popular sport in Canada. Why don’t they have a stand-alone first rate hockey league?

  2. Agreed – this is crap.

    I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: if Canada wants professional soccer teams, then they should form their own league. There’s more than enough markets in this country that have the desire, cash and planning in place that want a professional team, why this need to snub those cities in favor of other markets? This isn’t helping soccer in this country.

    If they make a mistake and put a team in Portland as well, the Pacific NW will go from three teams in two years to having just one 10 years from now. All three will not and can not survive.

    Whatever… this league has gone from barely watchable to completely unwatchable.

    Good old Canada… can’t do a damn thing for themselves, needing to constantly ride the coattails of other nations. It’s like the old joke – the shame of Canada is they could have had British culutre, French cuisine and American technology, and ended up with British food, French technology and American culture…

  3. I hope they cutoff the expansion at 18 teams for at least 3 to 5 years. There is no need to expand to 30 teams like some leagues. Most leagues have 20 teams but they also have relegation. Maybe a MLS/USL1 merger would be best in the long run. It would make Americans learn that if you fail (AIG) you are relegated. No more of this socialism with awarding the worst teams the first draft pick.

  4. Jamez wrote: “Not sure why they placed two expansion teams right next to each other.”

    Hey idiot, do you even know what rivalries are? In the UK and Europe teams are on top of each other. This will be an amazing US/Canada rivalry between two soccer-loving cities.
    “Seattle is little over 2 hours away (135 miles) from Vancouver. NYC and Philly are a little further apart but they are in bigger markets.” What’s your point here? Ugh, the NYC/Philly/DC/Boston rivalries are going to be off the chain just as will the Vancouver/Seattle/San Jose/LA/Chivas rivalries. You’re a stupid East Coaster aren’t you?
    “I would rather see Ottawa, Montreal or Miami. The NBA tried an expansion team in Vancouver (Grizzlies), and they were a bust and they moved shortly after.” That’s b-ball not soccer. I think before the MLS awards a franchise the money and the stadium has to me there, not to mention a major fan base.

    “I am also not a fan of awarding another franchise to the West (Portland). Portland to Seattle is 2.5 hrs away (175 miles).
    I rather wait and make sure everything is in place before we give out another expansion location.”

    You should not do sports marketing. Close rivalries is what makes sports awesome, fans traveling, real rivalries, etc. Not the bullshit that exists in most U.S. sport franchises. I think MLS made a good move expanding into the hotbed that is the Pacific Northwest and West Coast in general. The East has rivalries(NE, NY, Philly, DC), the midwest has rivalries (Columbus, Chicago, KC), Texas has a rivalry (Dallas/Houston), the Rockies have a rivalry (Colorado/SLC) and now the West Coast will have a rivalry. Soccer is all about derby’s.

  5. Does anyone else see the league expanding to 30-32 teams. I mean waay in the future. I think that eventually, the league will want to cover every corner of the country. You need conferences, divisions, playoffs, etc. to make that work. That’s why there will be no single-table MLS.

    I thought years ago when the league started growing that it would result in an overall drop in quality. Over time though, that quality can be recovered (and, of course, surpassed) I think it’s better to be in a few more markets while maintaining a semblance of quality rather than be a small league. 18 teams is decent but expansion should be put off for a good few years while quality, fan interest, cultural growth of soccer in the U.S., player production, and player compensation) catch up.

    Also, with the MLS taking the best teams from the USL, it might not be long before they would have to merge with the MLS as an actual (instead of de-facto) second division.

  6. On a local Vancouver radio station they interviewed Garber after the announcement. He said that the Whitecaps got in for $35 million US.

  7. Ummm really hope no one is complaining about Vansterdam joining the league. Take an away trip, there are some good pregame activities in this city I hear.

    Definitely looking forward to away matches in Vanbudz and the People’s Republic of Portland. Bring it, SOunders Cascadia Cup 2011

  8. I agree with Ulrich- we need no more Canadian teams this really angers me. How is the league going to win over more American fans and gain mainstream popularity without as much teams as possible? It won’t

  9. I really hope Vancouver’s team name stays the Whitecaps. (As I am also praying that Philly does not become Barcelona-Philadelphia)But, knowing Garber and the MLS’s attempts at marketing MLS teams “to the world”, they will probably name Vancouver something terrible like: Vancouver City, Arsenal Vancouver, AC Vancouver, or Bayern Vancouver. God I hate the MLS sometimes.

  10. With all due respect to BC, I seriously dobut that good international talent is longing to play there and the income and interest generated by a club there is self-limiting …

    Posted by: Adam M. | March 18, 2009 at 12:06 PM

    Long-winded post, bro, that is just ridiculous. Your comments about Vancouver show a remarkable lack of understanding of the city’s place in the world. It certainly is a more well-known world city than St. Louis. After next year’s Olympics it will be even more well known.

    But seriously, go to Europe or Asia or Australia and say the word “Vancouver” and everyone knows where you are talking about.

    It may be no New York — but thank God for that.

  11. Skinn-

    Perhaps you should try thinking to begin with….

    I am paraphrasing, but the gist of Labor laws in Canada allow any citizen of the British Commonwealth to work within the Commonwealth.

    In the US, foreigners wishing to work need either a Visa or a Green Card (which counts as a permanent residen with regard to work & living status).

    The reason it is IMPOSSIBLE to count Canadian & American players equally as Domestic is for the following two examples: A green card holder playing for DC counts as a domestic player, yet when Toronto picks them up they count as a foreigner (unless they are from the Commonwealth). Or a British player on Vancouver’s team (counted as a domestic) gets traded to SJ and now is counted as a foreigner. Each situation requires additional immigration paperwork to get passed and creates legal snafus for player acquisition.

  12. My hope is that by 2011 the MLS has modified or softened their nastionality rules. I’m all for 2 Canadian MLS franchises and it can do nothing but help the game in Canada (and North America) but with the way the rules are now both teams might suffer.

    On the plus side, both teams have ownership groups outside the MLS hive mind so hopefully this can be addressed.

  13. wow…this is very interesting. wtf is going to happen to the usl.

    Posted by: Homey Boehme | March 18, 2009 at 12:51


    Don’t worry about it Homey. The USL1 continues to metamorph. It will go on. It just won’t have a NW presence.

    With Tampa Bay, NY (as reported here), and maybe St. Louis (as some one mentioned here, a group has stated that if they can’t get MLS then they will go USL), there will be 3 teams. And that is not including if ATL comes back (I doubt it but I hope for their fans) or Pachuca or someone moving up or any of the other “rumors”.

    USL1 will survive. It will just change it’s shape.

  14. @fred mertz
    I partially share your concern about the talent pool, but I think the slow increase of more U.S. talent with the more savvy import of foreign players will offset a good amount of it. I mean, an average MLS squad has something like 15 players. So if they add two more teams there need to be 30 new American players as you can always find quality South American guys. We’re producing more and better players and I believe MLS allowed teams to have some more foreign players last year. So I think as long as they slow down expansion, it’ll be mostly OK.
    And as for this being a bad idea during these economic times, I disagree. MLS is on a firm financial footing and investors obviously see the opportunity. Throughout the history of downturns, opportunistic firms have risen while competitors were down in recessions, such as with Microsoft. MLS can rise during this if done correctly is kind of my point-of-view

  15. Great news for the league IMO. Three teams with 30+ years of strong supporter culture and a historic soccer rivalry? How can you go wrong? Honestly. Also, I can’t recall who mentioned adding 3 teams in the southeast in rapid succession?! I want whatever you’re smokin’ homes, ‘cos that’ll never happen. Seriously, name one southeastern city outside of Atlanta (who just folded their USL side for the season) that could support an MLS franchise? Didn’t think so. I honestly think that the league could get one more NYC team and St. Louis involved and then call it a wrap on expanding for a while.

    On an unrelated note, stop hating on Canadian teams in the league. I mean Ottawa, to me at least, is a joke. But Montreal could be a pretty legit addition. So basically in a 20 team league ya’ll are buggin out about 3 teams in Canada? That’s a bit weak. I mean they support their teams up there better than some of our teams here… Chivas USA and FC Dallas, I’m looking squarely in your direction. And that’s not hating, cos I’m from Dallas, but honestly the support there can be so much better and I think it will get there. I don’t include RBNY because once they get a couple of consecutive winning seasons and get into their new digs, they’ll be sorted.

  16. I believe the reason that Canadians can’t count as domestics is because of US immigration laws. I remember reading somewhere that it would give Canadians an unfair advantage on American MLS teams against other foreigners. The only thing they could do is scrap the whole foreigner limit entirely on both sides of the bother.

  17. If the rumors about Portland are true as well, I think it pretty much assures us that St. Louis is going to replace one of the Pacific Northwest teams in USL-1 — I believe this is what Jeff Cooper has said before.

    It also means that St. Louis, in this form, is probably never going to join MLS. The Cooper group has had a stadium ready to go since before Seattle was granted a franchise and has been willing to pay the expansion fees. But now, if St. Louis continues to be dragged along, the expansion fees will inevitably go up and punish this city for nothing.

    If the second round does go to Portland as people are reporting here, MLS should at the very least lock the future expansion fee for St. Louis.

  18. If they trot that same team up to the MLS, they will get trounced.

    Posted by: MannyJello | March 18, 2009 at 11:41 AM


    Manny, sure they would have to upgrade. But “trounced”– let’s not go to extremes. Seriously. TFC and Galaxy didn’t trounce them when they played them (ok, maybe those are not the best examples).

    Again, my take is that the gap ain’t as big as some would like to believe…

    Montreal and PR haven’t disgraced themselves when they have faced first division clubs.

    Maybe be in the bottom part of the table? But “trounced” might be a bit of a reach.

    Vancouver has a decent club. It will be interesting to see what the upgraded Seattle Sounders do this season…

  19. Adam, I’m not a BCer–heck–I’m not even Canuck. But I disagree with your take that no good international talent will want to play in Vancouver. That city is beautiful, it is a cosmopolitan city, an international one. They seemed to do ok getting guys up there back in the NASL days.

    No disrespect to either of the cities that you mentioned but. I would take Vancouver over Miami any day of the week. I would take Vancouver over NY2 any day of the week. It makes a lot of sense to me.

  20. Dumb to be expanding for two reasons. First, the economy. Second, the talent level of the league. The talent is stretched so thin already, it will only get worse. The level of play is horrendous and sometimes embarrassing.

  21. This is a massive mistake. MLS should have done the responsible thing and done nothing given the economy. At least it should have waited on expansion until Miami and New York 2 were ready (or maybe St. Louis). With all due respect to BC, I seriously dobut that good international talent is longing to play there and the income and interest generated by a club there is self-limiting. MLS needs to be better, not bigger. It needs more talent, not more teams. And if it needs more teams, it only needs them in places where international talent might actually want to be. This move does nothing but further regionalize a league that still needs to be nationalized, much less inter-nationalized (and no, Canada does not count). It also leaves one to wonder how many teams MLS eventually wants in its first division? If its 20, is BC (or Portland) really a wise choice? If its not 20, then MLS will look nothing like the rest of the world’s top-flight leagues, which are already over-populated with middling sides and iffy talent. Expansion for the sake of expansion is a bad idea. Expansion without a clear vision of the future is a bad idea. Expansion just because someone will pony up the fee is a bad idea. Vancouver is a bad idea.

  22. Just another excuse for me to visit Vancouver some day. Welcome to the league gentlemen! Hope you do it right.
    P.S. I like the uniforms but change the crest

  23. This is fantastic news for North American soccer fans. Vancouver has a soccer history going back to the NASL and a very strong and rabid fanbase. They will have a natural rivalry with Seattle, because the Whitecaps and Sounders have been rivals for decades — going back to the very same NASL! The ownership group is strong and dedicated. The stadium issue needs to be solved, but it sounds like that’s underway. This is great news for MLS. It will provide more opportunities for American players as well as Canadian players who can strengthen their national team and provide stronger competition in CONCACAF. It’s clearly a win-win situation for everyone.

  24. Ted,

    It is IMPOSSIBLE for Canadian & American players to be counted as Domestic – it has to do with US Labor laws & Visas/green cards.

  25. @ Will

    But do they have 15 MLS-level Canadian players? Probably not.

    MLS needs to just count Canadian and American players as domestic so Canadian teams don’t have to worry about seriously stretching to fill it’s teams and instead focus on signing the best Canadian players. The level of play would go up because these teams wouldn’t be scraping through USL-1 for any decent player with a Canadian passport.

    Canada has enough players, they just want to play in Europe. Same with American players.

  26. Looks like the USL will be a part and under the MLS umbrella a whole lot quicker than people think. If we take Portland from them, what cash flow do the have? RIP USL it was good knowing you.

  27. “The Whitecaps already have 15 Canadian players, they will have no problem meeting requirements.”

    They have 15 Canadian *USL-level* players.

  28. Ummm, Will — the Whitecraps have 15 Candadian *USL* players on their current squad. If they trot that same team up to the MLS, they will get trounced. Look at Sh*ttle, they at least knew to ditch their whole squad and get some talent. Whitecraps will have to do the same thing.

  29. I really am surprised at the negative reactions. This is a great decision by MLS – the Pac NW will demonstrate how to pack stadiums, sell massive amounts of season tickets, have real rivalries, and, oh yeah, operate at a profit. This will turn out very well in terms of fielding an attractive product and showcasing great football.

    The last thing this league needs is another ho-hum franchise with speculative prospects. Portland and Vancouver have proven their support for the game over the years. Can St. Louis say the same?


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