CIS Vikes set to host MLS Whitecaps FC for second-str​aight year

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By Ali Lee, Vikes Communications

February 20, 2013, Victoria, BC (ISN) – Saturday, March 16, 2013 the University of Victoria Vikes men’s soccer team will host Vancouver Whitecaps FC in the second-annual Canadian Interuniversity Sport and Major League Soccer exhibition-friendly hosted at Victoria’s Centennial Stadium. Kick off time is 1:00 p.m.

The friendly match follows a fall Vikes season of soccer that saw the former CIS champions finish sixth in the Canada West with a 6-6-2 record. Meanwhile, timing couldn’t better for Whitecaps FC, who begin their MLS seasonon Mar. 2 against Toronto FC.

“As always, hosting Vancouver Whitecaps FC provides a very special and unique atmosphere for the soccer community on the island,” said Vikes men’s head coach Bruce Wilson. “Fans will have the opportunity to see both the Vikes team, as well as Whitecaps FC, who will be just starting their MLS season. I think we will have a very good turn out.”

At least five Vikes have previously played professional soccer with Whitecaps FC including Jamie Lowery, Chris and Nico Craveiro, Geordie Lyall and current men’s soccer coach Wilson. In fact, the Vikes head coach was an original member of the North American Soccer League Whitecaps, having played four seasons in Vancouver from 1974 to 1977.

Another tie to Whitecaps FC is the development of 2011 CIS tournament Most Valuable Player Cam Hundal, of Surrey, B.C., and 2011 CIS All-Canadian and women’s soccer player Jaclyn Sawicki of Coquitlam. Both Hundal and Sawicki have spent time with the Whitecaps FC development programs, a testament to the player development model Whitecaps FC prides itself on.

“We’re thrilled to bring the highest level of professional soccer in Western Canada back to the island,” said Whitecaps FC presidentBob Lenarduzzi. “It was a great event last season, so we’re looking forward to another strong turnout from the Victoria community and another exciting match for fans.”

The Vikes have hosted Whitecaps FC all but one year (2011) since 2005. In the years prior to 2012, the ‘Caps visited Vancouver Island as members of the North American second division. In 2010, the teams rivaled in front of over 1,650 fans and in 2012, Whitecaps FC edged the Vikes 2-1 in front 2,831 fans.

The 2012-13 season marks Bruce Wilson’s 25th season as head coach of the Vikes. For Whitecaps FC, Martin Rennie has been the head coach since August 2011.

“With a break from MLS action that weekend, this match will be a good opportunity to continue momentum early in our season,” explained Rennie. “The Vikes provided a very competitive match for our squad last year, so we expect another entertaining match.”

The Vikes-Whitecaps game will be streamed live at http://UVic.canadawest.tv

Tickets for the Victoria match on March 16will be made available for purchase online or at the gate. For more information, visit:http://www.govikesgo.com/whitecaps or contact Janine Prince at (250) 472-4772 orjlprince@uvic.ca.

For media enquiries please contact Ali Lee, Vikes Communications Officer, at (250) 721-8410 or vicvikes@uvic.ca.

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