• Michael McColl

      Editor

      Michael McColl started "Away From The Numbers" as a printed fanzine in 1989 for his Scottish club East Fife. It became a website in 2003 and added a general football blog in 2009. The focus has always been to mix serious articles with off-beat humour pieces. The Canadian arm of AFTN began in 2009 and is primarily focused on Vancouver Whitecaps.


      Currently a weekly columnist for Metro News Vancouver, Michael has also written for many UK publications including When Saturday Comes, Four Four Two and The Independent.


    • Steve Pandher

      Assistant Editor

      Steve has been a soccer fan since the early days of the 86ers at Swangard Stadium. He started The Whitecaps Beat blog on the instistence of his wife, as she was tired of listening to his ramblings about the club. When he plays, his two positions are goalkeeper and striker, mostly because of the lack of running involved. In addition to the Whitecaps, Steve also updates the play of Canadian players abroad with the @TrueNorthSoccer twitter account.

    • Jay Duke

      Writer

      Growing up as a casual soccer fan, Jay became a fervent supporter after a move to Vancouver and a rise in profile of the Vancouver Whitecaps. Since then, his summer road trips revolve around Cascadia Derbies, and friends weddings are only to be attended if they do not conflict with a Whitecaps match.

      Jay attempts to share his thoughts from the emotional view of a supporter rather than by advanced analytics or number crunching.

    • Aaron Campbell

      Writer

      Aaron Campbell is our new face to the soccer blog scene. He started following the Whitecaps seriously when they joined the MLS and has been hooked ever since. Not afraid to speak his mind and prove he is right in his opinions backing them up with the stats of the game.

      Yeah right. The only reason he goes to games is to get away from his small army of kids that he has populated the Fraser Valley with. One day the kids and wife will catch on!!!

      Supporter of Whitecaps FC and FC Barcelona.
      Follow on twitter @AaCamp81

    • USL Pro Vancouver: Closer than we think?

      This season, just like last, the Vancouver Whitecaps have entered a partnership with the Charleston Battery to loan a minimum of four players to the USL Pro franchise.

      There has been a lot of talk over the past two years of a USL Pro team coming to the Vancouver/Fraser Valley area. Bobby Lenarduzzi has stated to AFTN in the past that the Whitecaps have no plans of owning a USL team anytime soon, but he also didn't deny that there wasn't a chance of a team coming to Vancouver under a different ownership group.

      Such a move may be closer than we think.

      Sources are telling me that the Vancouver Canucks' owning Aquilini Investor Group may have an interest in bringing a USL Pro side to Vancouver or the lower mainland, with initial enquiries suggesting that there have already been several discussions and meetings at the USL Pro headquarters in Tampa, Florida.

      Francesco Aquilini has been a huge supporter of local soccer. His children play youth soccer in Vancouver and he is heavily involved in all aspects of their involvement. I have also heard from people with direct knowledge he has built a functional turf pitch on his family property. His company may own the Canucks, but soccer is a game close to his heart.

      Back in October 2008 it was reported that Aquilini had been exploring the option of making a bid for a MLS team in Vancouver, but this came to nothing after Greg Kerfoot announced his plan to move forward with his MLS bid for the Whitecaps FC franchise.

      A franchise fee for a USL Pro team is in the $600,00 to $750,000 range. Average operating costs per USL team is between $2,000,000 to $3,000,000 per season according to the USL Pro league website.

      Having a team in Vancouver/Fraser Valley would be highly beneficial to the Whitecaps both on the field and off it in terms of getting more into the local communities

      With a potential 26 man squad, it would be a great opportunity to get some of the Caps' younger MLS draft picks and Residency players some quality meaningful minutes. With no reserve team this season, minutes for the majority of the younger players are going to have to be in U18 and PDL games, unless they grab one of the loan spots in Charleston.

      A local USL team would be great for the FO to keep an eye on these players development at close quarters moving forward, hopefully getting them to a point where they can make the jump to the MLS team.

      Most concerns heard about loaning players to Charleston last season was when the players came back them saying it felt like a waste of a season. Current Whitecap Bryce Alderson has said if he is sent back to the USL this season he would consider that a disappointment for his growth.

      There have also been concerns expressed around the quality of training down with the Battery, although this should be addressed this season after Charleston's coaches met with their Vancouver counterparts to discuss coaching ethos.

      The ideal USL Pro team in Vancouver should be owned by the Whitecaps. That way the FO could control all aspects of the team, players, coaching methods and game day experience for the supporters.

      This season the LA Galaxy has started their own USL team, LA Galaxy II, and the clubs are due to square off in the first "White v Blue" preseason battle later this month. They're marketing that game and the new team well to ensure that fans know it is just an extension of their club and an important one at that.

      If the desire or investment is not there though for the Whitecaps to run their own side, then partnering with a successful businessman with a sporting background like Aquilini would be the next best route to go down if there is a guarantee to work in partnership with the Whitecaps and develop their talent.

      Stay tuned for more updates......

      Comments 13 Comments
      1. Mr. Unregistered's Avatar
        Mr. Unregistered -
        What about the CSA's "new plan"? I thought they stopped allowing anyone from owning a 3rd division team (usl pro) in favour of a canadian league of some sorts.

        If the caps own one, then can TFC & Impact?
      1. Initial B's Avatar
        Initial B -
        ... and so can FCE and the Fury?

        Obviously the CSA doesn't have the resources to get something up and running and the provinces are dragging their heels, so it's up to the clubs to do what's in their best interest. We're just lucky that Canadian kids will get developed this way.
      1. Brenton's Avatar
        Brenton -
        As above, the CSA restriction on Canadian ownership of a USL Pro team in a US-bases league needs to be addressed in any discussion of the potential for one to be established in the Vancouver area.
      1. Michael McColl's Avatar
        Michael McColl -
        Unless it is an extension of the Whitecaps academy or falls under their umbrella. No sanctioning needed.

        Although I'd like to see the CSA turn down a request to sanction a team that wants to help Canadian soccer when there isn't already a D3 league in BC.

        Paper talk is one thing. Actually following through on it when a team is presented to them is another. I would fully expect them to go back on their comments and give any such team the go ahead.
      1. Brenton's Avatar
        Brenton -
        Quote Originally Posted by Michael McColl View Post
        Unless it is an extension of the Whitecaps academy or falls under their umbrella. No sanctioning needed.
        If they play professional soccer in Canada, I'm pretty sure they need to be licensed by the CSA.

        Quote Originally Posted by Michael McColl View Post
        Although I'd like to see the CSA turn down a request to sanction a team that wants to help Canadian soccer when there isn't already a D3 league in BC.

        Paper talk is one thing. Actually following through on it when a team is presented to them is another. I would fully expect them to go back on their comments and give any such team the go ahead.
        I would hope that you're right. But it's still an issue. Especially given how ridiculous the CSA has proved to be over the years.
      1. Watchmen's Avatar
        Watchmen -
        Is there even a discussion about a D3 league being created in BC? Because it's all well and good to say "You can't have a USL Pro team here", but if there's no alternative being created then all you're really doing is turning away an owner who'd like active in soccer in Canada....and Canada really can't afford that.
      1. Brenton's Avatar
        Brenton -
        That's assuming a level of rational thought that many wouldn't ascribe to the CSA.
      1. Duane Rollins's Avatar
        Duane Rollins -
        Quote Originally Posted by Brenton View Post
        That's assuming a level of rational thought that many wouldn't ascribe to the CSA.
        And you're suggesting that continuing to rely on American leagues is in the best interest of the CSA and its BC BASED president.

        Michael is right. The loophole the CSA will allow any of the three MLS teams to do is to operate an USL team within their academy set-up. The CSA would consider that an extension of the sanctioning of the senior team and would put not restrictions on what league they play in.

        what they will no longer do is sanction NEW D3 teams in American leagues. Nor should they. BC is more than big enough to operate something similar to what we will see in Quebec and Ontario this summer.
      1. Watchmen's Avatar
        Watchmen -
        BC might be big enough, but is anyone actually looking to organize a D3 league? Because it seems some what pointless to turn down a prospective owner in this country if no one is actually trying to work towards a D3 league in an area of it.
      1. Unregistered's Avatar
        Unregistered -
        Closest thing to D3 is either the VMSL which plays Fall-winter, not summer or the PCSL which has a U21 reserve division and a open age first division, but it's basically the same set up as the USL PDL.
        ie it's a summer league for post-secondary players (2.5 months long, 14 games)
      1. Brenton's Avatar
        Brenton -
        Quote Originally Posted by Duane Rollins View Post
        And you're suggesting that continuing to rely on American leagues is in the best interest of the CSA and its BC BASED president.
        You do love those all-caps...

        I'm not suggesting that. In fact, I'm suggesting the opposite - that the CSA is not always engaged in rational decision-making. Or rather, that is hasn't been in the past, and that often the past is a decent indicator of future action.
      1. husseyray's Avatar
        husseyray -
        Hey, i think its a assuming a level of rational thought.
      1. husseyray's Avatar
        husseyray -
        good opportunity and encouragement for local players. They will get a platform to showcase their talents.
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