Construction begins on Vancouver FC's new 6,600-seat soccer stadium in Langley

Feb 10 2023, 12:07 am

Metro Vancouver’s first soccer-specific stadium is now in the process of being constructed very quickly.

The brand new Vancouver FC of the domestic-only Canadian Premier League (CPL), not to be confused with the Vancouver Whitecaps FC of Major League Soccer (MLS), announced today their new stadium will be ready for their first season starting later in 2023.

Construction is now occurring at Willoughby Community Park at Langley Events Centre in Langley Township, with work underway on concrete foundations, utilities, and site services.

It will have an initial capacity for 6,560 people, designed in a way to be able to expand in both capacity and amenities in the future.

Earlier this week, the first shipping containers for the club’s unique flat pack stadium arrived at the Port of Vancouver.

The stadium is being built within a short timeframe, made possible with its modular design, with off-site prefabricated structures transported to the site for assembly — a process that shortens the construction timeline, and greatly reduces the cost compared to conventional construction methods.

Existing condition of Willoughby Community Park:

Willoughby Community Park Langley Township

Willoughby Community Park in Langley Township. (Google Maps)

Future condition of Willoughby Community Park with the new soccer stadium:

Vancouver FC Stadium Langley Groundbreaking

Artistic rendering of Vancouver FC Stadium at Willoughby Community Park at Langley Events Centre in Langley Township. (Vancouver FC)

The stadium’s opening day features later this year will include an east grandstand that will be home to a Cabana Club, VIP dining and Tunnel Club-style experiences below the west grandstand, a Family Zone on the north end, and an ardent fan zone on the south end, as well as several entertainment plazas — including an area designed to accommodate a “mini food truck festival” on each match day.

“We hope to create a true, authentic soccer destination for all,” said Dean Shillington, the managing partner of SixFive Sports & Entertainment, which is the parent company of SixFive Stadium Experience and Vancouver Football Club.

“This stadium will become the heartbeat of the community for years to come and is a very flexible amenity that can expand as the sport of soccer continues to grow in Canada.”

Vancouver-based SixFive Stadium Experience specializes in designing modular stadiums, which can be either temporary or permanent. Modular stadiums are typically on the lower end of the capacity size, but there have been some exceptions, namely “Stadium 974” — a 40,000-seat temporary stadium constructed with repurposed shipping containers, located in Doha, built for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. The number 974 in the stadium’s name represents the number of shipping containers used.

Vancouver FC Stadium Langley Groundbreaking

Groundbreaking of Vancouver FC Stadium at Willoughby Community Park at Langley Events Centre in Langley Township. (Vancouver FC)

Shillington notes their Langley stadium will be similar to Empire Field on the former footprint of Empire Stadium at Vancouver’s Hastings Park. Built for $14 million, the 27,500-seat Empire Field existed for about a year — between the summers of 2010 and 2011 — to provide the BC Lions and Vancouver Whitecaps FC with a temporary home while BC Place Stadium was undergoing its renovation.

In the late 2000s, the Vancouver Whitecaps FC also had plans to build their own soccer-specific stadium over the railyard north of Gastown in downtown Vancouver, but the proposal for the 15,000-seat venue eventually fell apart.

“We are delighted to share our vision for our future home with our fans, who can expect a stadium to rise before their eyes in the coming months as we look ahead to hosting our first match in club history later this year,” said Rob Friend, president of Vancouver FC.

“We are excited to provide a proper football experience for every fan that walks through our doors and to see this stadium come to life in the near future.”

Vancouver FC’s inaugural home match is scheduled for Sunday, May 7, against the Cvalary FC.

This will be the second new soccer-specific stadium constructed in BC in recent years, following the 2019 redevelopment of Starlight Stadium near Victoria, with a new 6,000-seat stadium replacing the previous 1,600-seat stadium. It is the home field of Pacific FC, also of the CPL, and a training venue for Rugby Canada.

The University of British Columbia also has plans to build a new football/soccer stadium to replace Thunderbird Stadium. UBC’s new 5,000-seat venue, expandable to 10,000, is expected to cost $50 million.

empire field pne hastings park vancouver stadium 2010 2011

The temporary Empire Field stadium on the former site of Empire Stadium, 2010-2011. Captured during a CFL BC Lions game. (Unitech Construction Management)

starlight stadium langford bc f

Starlight Stadium in Langford, BC. (Tourism Victoria)

Kenneth ChanKenneth Chan

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