Nine Stripes Ready To Kick Off New Era At Home
With the announcement that the Canadian Premier League will be returning to home markets come the end of the month, there’s a lot to get excited about.
There’s especially true for York United FC, who are in the midst of establishing a new era after having undergone both a club rebrand and a stadium renovation over the past year.
Speaking with Northern Tribune, Club President Angus McNab was understandably excited regarding the club’s first home match since October 19, 2019, though he notes that the hard work is far from over.
I cannot wait for the return of fans. We still have a bit of work for provincial health authorities to review plans based on recent announcements, but we are confident that we will meet all of the standards required to have fans return to a renovated York Lions Stadium.Angus McNab
When York United fans are finally able to take in a home game, they’ll be met with a brand new FIFA Quality Pro turf surface that replaces the stadium’s original grass pitch and space previously occupied by a running track. While the larger field brings fans closer to the action, it also serves a secondary purpose: it gives York United’s youth-oriented team more space to move the ball around their opposition.
The club’s 2021 regular season home opener is due to be a fiery one, coming in the shape of a 905 Derby match against reigning champions Forge FC. McNab is more than ready to welcome the occasion:
Nothing better than the closest of rivals to kick off the York United era in the stadium. We have a young, dynamic group and I cannot wait for our fanbase to be introduced to them in person. The fact we will have smashed the U-21 minute threshold before this game will hopefully show our belief in young Canadian talent and inspire those in the stands.Angus McNab
Spectators attending the match will be without a safe standing section for the time being, with the club having previously made the financial decision to delay the installation of such back when the possibility of home markets – and what capacity might be allowed – was still largely unknown.
Ontario will enter step three of its reopening plan this Friday, which allows for clubs like York United to host spectators with a limit of 75% capacity or 15,000 people, depending on which number is smaller.
With York United now only having three more matches to play in the bubble before the team can come home, the light is certainly there at the end of the tunnel. For players like Jordan Wilson, it couldn’t come soon enough.
I’m elated, for more reasons than one. I think it gives a bit of normality to playing, instead of traveling and being in a bubble. I just feel like pulling up and playing at home, or even going away, it’s just going to be a great thing. Especially for me, having family and friends coming to watch…that’s something that’s never happened to me. I’m ecstatic.Jordan Wilson
The Nine Stripes will play twenty matches after leaving the bubble behind, ten of which will come at home and ten of which will be away. There’s a trio of Friday Night evening matchups, with two midweek affairs and five weekend fixtures.
The status of the 2021 Canadian Championship, which could add more home matches into the mix, has yet to be revealed. The club will close out its 2021 regular season on Saturday, November 6, 2021, with another 905 Derby at home against Forge FC.
With the Canadian Premier League side having struggled with attendance back in 2019, it’ll be interesting to see how the Ontario-based side performs under the new York United era. Angus McNab had a lot of plans to improve the overall matchday experience back in 2020 before the COVID-19 pandemic struck, so fans will be expecting to see a fresh approach this year.
For now, however, one imagines fans will be happy enough just to be able to support their teams in the flesh. It’s been a long time coming.
The full 2021 Canadian Premier League regular season schedule can be seen here.