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My letter to Don Garber


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Mr. Garber,

I am writing to voice my full support for Greg Kerfoot, Bob Lenarduzzi, Steve Nash, Jeff Mallett and the Vancouver Whitecaps organization in their bid for an MLS expansion franchise.

Although I was a little too young to fully appreciate the Whitecaps during their NASL years, I became a lifelong fan during the Vancouver 86ers era, and I have rarely missed a home game since the resurrection of the Whitecaps brand name in 2001.

As I am sure you are already aware, the Vancouver Whitecaps / 86ers are the longest-running professional soccer club in all of North America.

We have a rich soccer history in Vancouver that is unparalleled anywhere on this continent.

Our city's love for the Whitecaps began with the inception of the NASL, and with the signings of young internationals like England's Peter Beardsley and Alan Ball, and the infamously cheeky Scotsman, "Wee" Willie Johnston.

The 1979 Soccer Bowl gave Vancouver much to celebrate, with nearly 100,000 people attending the victory parade upon their return home from the match in New York.

Vancouver's support carried the club right on through some very turbulent times, eventually demonstrating an unprecedented dominance of the Canadian Soccer League for a six year period. In 1988-89, Vancouver even broke the world record for the most consecutive matches without a loss (46) by any professional sports organization.

Our more recent successes as part of the APSL and USL would not have been possible were it not for the one man who has seen this club through the best of times and the toughest times, as player, coach and general manager. That person, of course, is Bob Lenarduzzi.

Bob's name has been synonymous with soccer in Canada, and soccer in Vancouver in particular…. he is an irreplaceable asset to the soccer community, and a Whitecaps MLS franchise will be in excellent hands with him at the helm.

As far as the club's ownership goes, Greg Kerfoot needs no introduction. His endless generosity and his dedication to developing the sport at the amateur and professional levels is nothing short of miraculous. Greg has spent tens of millions of dollars to improve the quality of the game in British Columbia without asking for a single thing in return. Among his dozens of charitable projects and initiatives, he is singlehandedly financing Canada's women's Olympic soccer team at a time when the Canadian Soccer Association seems unable or unwilling to provide the resources needed to succeed at the international level.

With the addition of Steve Nash to the Whitecaps MLS bid, you not only have added financial stability, but you also have an immensely popular sports superstar who has the potential to give MLS the boost it needs to gain mainstream acceptance and popularity in North American culture and the sports media.

Last but not least is Jeff Mallett, who I understand is an old acquaintance of yours. Jeff's experience as president of Yahoo! and as co-owner of the San Francisco Giants leads me to believe that the Whitecaps MLS bid has one of the sharpest business minds in the world at its disposal. With Jeff on board, the Whitecaps are sure to continue their long legacy of success on and off the pitch.

While I have heard that there are other ownership groups in Vancouver competing against the Whitecaps for an MLS franchise, please give careful consideration to following:

On behalf of all Vancouver soccer fans, I can assure you with 100% certainty that there is only one club, one ownership, and one name that matters in this city. That name is Vancouver Whitecaps FC.

Greg, Bob, Steve and Jeff have huge hearts that bleed blue and white, just like the fans do.

As fans, we know the club we've loved for 34 years is in excellent hands, and it has never been in a better position to grow and succeed than it is now.

When it comes to our beloved Caps, Vancouver's fans shall accept no substitute, and no pretenders.

Please say "yes" to the only expansion bid that matters in our region. Say "yes" to Vancouver Whitecaps FC.

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I sent a similar one to the MLS and I hope everyone else does as well.

I am sure that Kerfoot's bid will win. He brings so much more to the MLS than Franceso Aquilini ever could. They both bring lots of money.

After that here is what Kerfoot brings:

Longterm commitment to soccer in BC at all levels. Huge appreciation and support from BC's soccer community. Steve Nash, huge profile in the US and a great public figure for soccer in general. Jeff Mallett brings sports business and info systems smarts. Bob Lenarduzzi brings decades of experience playing and managing the Whitecaps.

So other than money what does Franceso Aquilini bring to the table? His initials are FA for a reason! ;)

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I kept mine short and to the point...

Mr. Garber,

I am a long time soccer fan from Vancouver, Canada. For years I have supported the USL Vancouver Whitecaps FC. Under the ownership and guidance of Greg Kerfoot, the club has excelled both on and off the field and has made a significant long term investment in the development of the game at all levels, modelling itself on classic European football club lines. The Vancouver Whitecaps FC is integral to the fabric of the Vancouver and British Columbia community and has worked hard over many years to earn the broad respect and support it enjoys.

I now understand that Franceso Aquilini has or is planning on launching an MLS expansion bid for Vancouver in competition with the Whitecaps group including Kerfoot, Nash and Mallett. Should MLS decide to grant a Vancouver franchise I believe it would be a serious mistake not to accept the Whitecaps bid with the support and respect in the community that the Whitecaps organisation has earned during the thirty years or so of its history in this city versus the unfortunate reputation Mr. Aquilini has acquired and his sudden and belated interest in the business of soccer.

An Aquilini owned MLS team in Vancouver would not enjoy my support or that of my family and friends.

Thank you for your time.

Richard Howes

And I do admit to a little plagiarism :)

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I agree with Tractor Boy. From the various comments we've heard over the past few months from Bobbaduzzi, and from how the USL-1 matchday experience has been set up, I'd rather have Bobby merely as a talking head in the new MLS club, and leave the matchday experience to an open-minded professional who is willing to learn from and emulate the successes of TFC.

Football 2.0, please.

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I agree with Tractor Boy. From the various comments we've heard over the past few months from Bobbaduzzi, and from how the USL-1 matchday experience has been set up, I'd rather have Bobby merely as a talking head in the new MLS club, and leave the matchday experience to an open-minded professional who is willing to learn from and emulate the successes of TFC.

Football 2.0, please.

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I have to wonder how many of those here who are trashing the Whitecaps front office personnel from Bob L. down have ever visited their offices and spent any time getting to know the folks who work there every day!

I have little doubt however that when the Whitecaps do move on to MLS their front office staff will be bolstered as required, just as the player roster will be.

Edit: The Whitecaps operation is a very long way from being a ma and pa shop, that just shows how little you really know about the organisation under Greg Kerfoot. There have been periods in the history of the club when that descriptor may have approached reality but it is definitely not appropriate under the current regime.

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My PERCEPTION, and perceptions are not always reality, is that The Duze does an adequate to good job.

Fact is that we have an owner with deep pockets and a desire to be successfull. In a league like the USL and in a city with the talent level of Vancouver you'd have to be borderline retarded to not run the Caps at or near capacity and at least .500 as far as record goes.

Lenarduzzi has the face power for the MLS...he is well respected as a player,coach, and executive in Soccer in Canada.

Richard is right, you would have to be of the mind that the F.O. will be bolstered along with the Lineup/Roster with an impending move to the MLS.

The Caig fiasco was a joke, as have some of the other prior stories and experiences I have heard and witnessed. But then he does get things right too, and I, for one, can admit to not givng enough credit when credit is due, but all the while screaming from the rafters when something bad has happened/perceived to have happened.

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quote:Originally posted by Calgary Boomer

There are many people in the Whitecaps organization that may not have the chops to take it to the next level. Right now they're a ma and pa shop...and they're going to have to be more like a Superstore if they want to compete on all levels.

I'd take offense to that ;)

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quote:Originally posted by Richard

I have to wonder how many of those here who are trashing the Whitecaps front office personnel from Bob L. down have ever visited their offices and spent any time getting to know the folks who work there every day!

I have little doubt however that when the Whitecaps do move on to MLS their front office staff will be bolstered as required, just as the player roster will be.

Edit: The Whitecaps operation is a very long way from being a ma and pa shop, that just shows how little you really know about the organisation under Greg Kerfoot. There have been periods in the history of the club when that descriptor may have approached reality but it is definitely not appropriate under the current regime.

Richard, I've been in that office frequently over the course of it's existence on Water Street. I have no disrespect toward Greg Kerfoot, but there's a certain amount of nepitism in the Whitecaps, along with some people who have NO CLUE about the game and how to market it.

Not every hire (read John Rocha) is a good hire. There are at least a couple of examples of this within the club's front office.

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Haha...

Let's face all facts...The Whitecaps are going to have to be a different animal come MLS...

that is not to say the Webmaster has to go ;) or tickets salesmen have to go, just that some of the stories I hear through my many various sources about how the team and club is run sometimes shock me. That is not a barb aimed at Kerfoot or anything, just let's say that a certain former MNT player and MNT Coach and Whitecap Soccer Bowl winner can act like a wiener sometimes...

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quote:Originally posted by Calgary Boomer

Richard, I've been in that office frequently over the course of it's existence on Water Street. I have no disrespect toward Greg Kerfoot, but there's a certain amount of nepitism in the Whitecaps, along with some people who have NO CLUE about the game and how to market it.

Not every hire (read John Rocha) is a good hire. There are at least a couple of examples of this within the club's front office.

So now you've moved away from the argument that the Whitecaps operation is a ma and pa shop which is what I was refuting, to some of the hires have not been very good. Well the latter applies to almost any business venture you'd care to name and not everybody in the organisation needs to be an expert on the game itself or in marketing. It is not my intention to defend everything about the Whitecaps organisation, I just don't like misinformed and destructive, unwarranted criticism. The Whitecaps are amongst the best run most enduring organisations in the USL, for now that's all they need to be.
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