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Vancouver Whitecaps confirm annual friendly against University of Victoria

VANCOUVER, BC – The annual friendly between Western Canada’s Major League Soccer club Vancouver Whitecaps FC and Canadian Interuniversity Sport side UVic Vikes is set for Sunday, February 16 at Centennial Stadium at 2 p.m. PT. The 2014 edition will be the ninth meeting between the ’Caps and Vikes in a tradition that dates back to 2005.

“Since the original Whitecaps, the club has enjoyed fantastic support from fans in Victoria and all across Vancouver Island,” said Whitecaps FC president Bob Lenarduzzi. “The annual match against the UVic Vikes is always a highlight of our preseason and an important tradition.”

The preseason friendly on Vancouver Island will be Whitecaps FC’s lone match in British Columbia before the club kicks off their 40th anniversary and fourth season in MLS on Saturday, March 8 at BC Place against reigning MLS Supporters Shield winners New York Red Bulls.

The ’Caps fourth of seven preseason matches will take place between trips to Casa Grande, Arizona, and Portland, Oregon, and Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson will look to use a full complement of players including a number of First Kick starters.

“It’s important for us to visit our fans on the island and give them the opportunity to see our first team players,” added Robinson. “This match will give us that chance, provided each player is fit to play.”

For UVic, the friendly follows a fall season that saw the 11W-5L-1D Vikes finish sixth in the Canada West conference. Two Vikes led the team in scoring with 11 goals, including fourth year Cameron Stokes and Whitecaps FC U-23 midfielder Cam Hundal.

“Hosting Vancouver Whitecaps FC is always an anticipated and exciting atmosphere for the island’s soccer community,” said Vikes head coach Bruce Wilson. “Island fans will have the opportunity to see both our Vikes side and also the talents of Whitecaps FC, who will just be starting up their MLS season.”

At least five Vikes have previously played professional soccer with Whitecaps FC including Jamie Lowery, Chris and Nico Craveiro, Geordie Lyall and current men’s soccer coach Wilson. In fact, the Vikes head coach was an original member of the North American Soccer League Whitecaps, having played four seasons in Vancouver from 1974 to 1977.

Last year, Whitecaps FC defeated the Vikes 3-0 in front of 2,600 fans at Centennial Stadium. Since 2005, Vancouver holds the edge with a 6W-1L-1D record against UVic.