English Premier League side visit BC Place as part of Vancouver-Guangzhou Friendship Cities Cup

VANCOUVER, BC – In conjunction with the Vancouver-Guangzhou Friendship Society and Vancouver Chinese Soccer Association, Vancouver Whitecaps FC announced on Thursday that the club has been invited to play against English Premier League side and FA Cup finalists Crystal Palace FC in the Vancouver International Soccer Challenge. The match will take place at BC Place on Tuesday, July 19 at 7 p.m. PT.

“We’re honoured to be invited to take part in the Vancouver International Soccer Challenge against Crystal Palace FC,” said Bob Lenarduzzi, president of Whitecaps FC. “Facing an English Premier League side will provide a great test for our club, and great entertainment for local soccer fans.”

Whitecaps FC season ticket members have first priority to purchase their seats through an exclusive pre-sale ending on Wednesday, May 25 at 5 p.m. PT. Tickets will then go on sale to the public through Ticketmaster on Friday, May 27 at 10 a.m. PT.

“It’s a trip that I think will be good for the club,” added Alan Pardew, manager of Crystal Palace FC. “As we prepare for our upcoming Premier League season, we had a number of teams that want to play us and we’ve taken this opportunity to go to North America to spread the word of the type of football we play. Our fan base continues to grow in North America and this is a perfect opportunity to reach out to those fans as well as introduce ourselves to many more new fans in the United States and Canada.”

The international friendly is part of the sixth annual Vancouver – Guangzhou Friendship Cities Cup, a friendly match between a Select XI from the Vancouver Chinese Soccer Association and the Guangzhou Super Football Club to celebrate the 31st anniversary of the sister cities relationship between Vancouver and Guangzhou. The Friendship Cities Cup will kick off at 9 p.m. PT – immediately following the international friendly.

“We are delighted to have both Vancouver Whitecaps FC and Crystal Palace FC agree to take part in this international friendly match,” said Mr. Yung Tsz Shuen, president of the Vancouver Chinese Soccer Association. “We hope the home fans will come out and fully support Whitecaps FC, while at the same time they can witness some fantastic skills from players of Crystal Palace such as Zaha, Campbell, Wickham, Adebayor and Jedinak. It is also our aim, through this sister cities relationship, to encourage more people from the local Chinese community to support Whitecaps FC and be more involved in football development in Vancouver.”

“The team at BC Place is proud to host yet another international soccer match between two exciting Club teams,” said Graham Ramsay, Director, Business, BC Place. “Following the recent success of hosting the FIFA Women’s World Cup and the Canada Men’s National Team qualification matches for the FIFA World Cup Russia 2018 tournament, BC Place continues to attract new, world class events to British Columbia.”

Prior to this summer’s friendly, the London-based club will be looking to capture their first FA Cup title when they play Manchester United in the final at Wembley Stadium on Saturday, May 21. Founded in 1905, the club has finished as high as third in the English Premier League in 1991. The team is led by Alan Pardew, winner of the EPL Manager of the Season in 2012.

“We are honoured to have this opportunity to co-organize this memorable game, to celebrate the friendship between Vancouver and Guangzhou cities,” said Paul Kam, chairman of ProEvents Group. “We encourage all soccer fans to get their match tickets early to avoid disappointment.”

This is the 59th all-time international friendly for Whitecaps FC, and the second since joining MLS in 2011. During the club’s inaugural MLS season, Whitecaps FC hosted English side Manchester City FC at Empire Field.