Making History: Vancouver FC Sells Out Tonight’s Home Opener
Professional football will be making a big splash in Langley tonight.
Canadian Premier League side Vancouver FC has announced a sellout crowd for this afternoon’s home opener, with its brand-new stadium set to be filled to the brim with sporting fans keen to take in some history and, perhaps, get hooked on British Columbia’s newest pro sports team.
That means the stadium is expected to play host to some 6,560 fans, and the club has a plethora of matchday festivities ready to keep them entertained beyond whatever happens on the pitch: with live entertainment by DJ Floetic, face painters and balloon artists in the family zone, beer garden taps flowing aplenty, and a bevy of foot trucks serving hot meals, there’ll be no shortage of options to fans entertained.
The first 4,000 of them through the gates will get a free rally towel, and should Vancouver FC find the back of the net we imaging many of those will be lost in the air as Willoughby Park fills with a chorus of new voices and celebrations.
Langley’s first soccer-specific stadium is based on Empire Field, a temporary football stadium that resided in Hastings Park from 2010-2011. While it’s a great nod to old history, tonight will be about making new memories and strong first impressions.
It was just days ago when club co-founder Rob Friend said they expected upwards of 5,000 fans to fill the bleachers at Willoughby Park, but evidently the hype train of a brand new pro soccer team in town has boosted ticket sales to a total sellout.
Friend has long-believed a professional soccer team can plant its flag in the lower mainland, where there’s ample competition in the sporting market. The team revealed its name and branding back in November, adding a high-calibre head coach who moved quickly to build an entire roster from scratch.
Its first three league matches all took place away from home, allowing for finishing touches to take place at Willoughby Park. The brand new 6,560 soccer-specific stadium boasts a Cabana Club on the east grandstand, with VIP dining and tunnel club experiences on the west. The southside will host the rowdier supporters’ group members, and opposite that lies the designated family zone. It’s a smart design, and one that’ll be tested to its maximum capacity right from the get-go.
Willoughby Park has another trick up its sleeve, too: its modular in design, allowing the club to expand and add amenities as needed. What we’re seeing is stage one, with stage two expected to add some roofing so fans are sheltered from the lower mainland weather.
The hosts will enter tonight’s match with a very balanced 1-1-1 record, while league heavyweights Cavalry FC enter hungry for a win after taking three draws on the bounce. It’ll also see crucial Vancouver FC midfielder Elliot Simmons square up against his old club, though the historic moment of his new side’s first-ever match will loom over all of the drama yet to unfold.
With some 6,560 fans expected, it’s set to be a great day of professional football in the lower mainland, and Willoughby Park looks an intimate setting for history to reveal itself.
“I just really hope that people leave that game and with a bit of a ‘wow factor’, being, ‘Wow, that was incredible. That was something I’ve never experienced. I’m in and I want to be part of this forever” Friend told J.J. Adams regarding the club’s hometown debut.
“Hopefully, this is a start to a legacy in this community that will outlast all of us.”
Willoughby Park will host thousands of soccer fans new-and-old tonight at 4:00PM PST, with Vancouver FC hosting Cavalry FC. The match is available on OneSoccer, fuboTV, and Telus Optik TV.
Header Image Photo Credit: Beau Chevalier