When the Vancouver Whitecaps step onto the pitch at BC Place on Saturday, it’ll be the first time doing so in front of their home fans in 539 days.
Yeah, it’s been a while.
The team, suiting up Saturday at 7 pm against LAFC, will look different from the group that took the field before the pandemic. Many players will see Whitecaps supporters with their own eyes for the first time, including new Designated Player Ryan Gauld and Deiber Caicedo.
Six other players — Michael Baldisimo, Janio Bikel, Cristian Gutierrez, Leonard Owusu, Ryan Raposo, and Ranko Veselinovic — have played over 25 matches each for the Whitecaps without having played in front of fans in Vancouver.
To mark the historic occasion, the Whitecaps will be giving out free T-shirts courtesy of Bell to fans in attendance, with the words “Take Me Home” on the front.
Tickets are still available for the match, which will be held at 50% capacity, in accordance with provincial health measures.
The “Warmup” presented by Phillips Brewing is also making its triumphant return, with a 19+ street party taking place outside the stadium prior to kickoff, from 2 to 7 pm. Live DJs and food trucks will be on hand, with $5 beers for sale. Entry is free, but capacity is limited for the Warmup, which is now located at Robson and Beatty, across the street from Terry Fox Plaza.
A number of new COVID-19 safety measures are in place at BC Place, with fans being seated in alternating rows. Enhanced cleaning, sanitization, sterilizing, and disinfecting practices are in effect at the stadium, with staff cleaning high-touch surfaces during the match. Hand sanitization stations are also located throughout BC Place.
1 ᴡᴇᴇᴋ ᴜɴᴛɪʟ ᴡᴇ ᴘʟᴀʏ ᴀᴛ ʜᴏᴍᴇ 🏟💙
Get your tickets to our home opener against #LAFC before they sell out 🎟 ⬇️
— Vancouver Whitecaps FC (@WhitecapsFC) August 14, 2021
A touchless screening procedure is now in place for fans entering the stadium, with walk-through metal detectors and touchless ticket scanners. There will also be no handling of paper money, as BC Place is now a cashless venue accepting only debit and credit cards, as well as Google Pay and Apple Pay.
Fans are also encouraged to avoid social contact with people outside their group and minimize time spent on the concourse. Players and coaches aren’t allowed to engage with fans, meaning no high-fives, autographs, or photos like usual.
Masks are not required to attend, though BC provincial health guidelines recommend them for anyone 12 and older who is not yet fully vaccinated (you’re fully vaccinated 14 days after your second dose).
Daily Hive is a proud media partner of Vancouver Whitecaps FC.