Home Canadian Soccer CIS and Amateur Vancouver’s new training centre gives it the edge for WWC final, marquee matches

Vancouver’s new training centre gives it the edge for WWC final, marquee matches

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Make no mistake about it — the news of a National Soccer Development Centre in Vancouver could represent a major shift in the focus of our soccer programs.

On Thursday, the Vancouver Whitecaps announced that it will partner with the University of British Columbia on the construction of centre, which will feature a fieldhouse as well as “five new, refurbished or improved soccer fields.”

In all the chatter around the Women’s World Cup, there has been a focus on Canada’s lack of proper training facilities. Stadiums are nice, but everything I have been told so far indicate the decisions on who will get the big games in 2015 will depend greatly on who has the best practice facilities for the national teams. And, by having the new NSDC — which the Whitecaps have pledged will have 50 per cent community use, Vancouver has a more important chip in getting the final or Canada matches than BC Place itself. Now, the city has a clear lead on Edmonton and/or Montreal when it comes to attracting the marquee matches.

The B.C. government will contribute $14.5 million to the $32.5 million project. Three of the five fields will be grass.

It also gives British Columbians a compelling counterpoint to why more national-team matches should be staged in Western Canada’s largest city. The opportunity for a national to train in the same city in which it plays offers some convenience and may act as a foil to the argument for the shorter flights to Toronto (but then having to go out to Alliston, Ont. to train). Yes, Toronto FC has a training facility in the north end of the city, but Canada doesn’t train there. It doesn’t have the same community-first philosophy as advertised by the ‘Caps.

Yes, BMO Field has grass, and BC Place has turf. But the practice facility that has 50 per cent community use is a sweet, sweet bargaining chip. And, it’s the right thing for the Whitecaps to do, considering that government is footing more than half the bill. The Whitecaps and UBC will share the annual operating costs.

And, of course, CSA president Victor Montagliani is a British Columbian.

“Today is a monumental day for Canadian soccer and elevates the game to new levels in British Columbia,” said Whitecaps’ President Bob Lenarduzzi in a release issued by the club. “UBC is a world-class university in a fantastic location and is quickly becoming the epicentre for sport in Canada.

“The government’s commitment to healthy living and sport for our youth, combined with the amenities and synergy at UBC, makes this partnership truly special. We are excited to call the National Soccer Development Centre our home for many years to come.”

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One Comment

  1. Brendan

    September 7, 2012 at 8:33 pm

    National men’s team players don’t want to play on turf. It’s one of the main reasons they play in Toronto

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