Vancouver Whitecaps’ Marc Dos Santos celebrates after defeating FC Dallas’ 2-1 in a MLS soccer game in Vancouver, on Saturday May 25, 2019. A lot has changed in the soccer world in the 40 years since the Vancouver Whitecaps captured a North American Soccer League championship. Players have different hair cuts now and don’t often sport moustaches, and many are covered in tattoos, said current ‘Caps coach Dos Santos. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Richard Lam

Vancouver Whitecaps hope club’s history provides lessons for victory

Today’s team has a lot to learn from the squad that captured a title back in 1979

A lot has changed in the soccer world in the 40 years since the Vancouver Whitecaps captured a North American Soccer League championship.

Players have different haircuts now and don’t often sport moustaches, and many are covered in tattoos.

But today’s team has a lot to learn from the squad that captured a title back in 1979.

“The fashion has changed so much. The game has changed, some of the rules have changed,” Whitecaps coach Marc Dos Santos said. ”But the need for commitment to succeed and humility and character and personality, that is a need that was there 40 years ago.”

Dos Santos’s players met with members of the ‘79 team on Thursday, a day before the club celebrates the 40th anniversary of the championship when the Whitecaps host Toronto FC.

“There were a lot of things done 40 years ago in that locker room that could be done today in our locker room,” Dos Santos said. ”There’s always things to learn from generations. The speed of the game changes, maybe some of the tactics change, but the spirit of the winning mentality, the belief, (has been around) since the days of the gladiator.”

Fifteen players from the championship-winning team will be on hand for Friday’s ceremonies. Coach Tony Waiters will also be present and will be inducted into the club’s “ring of honour.”

After two and a half seasons with the Whitecaps, Waiters went on to coach Team Canada at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles and the national team’s first World Cup appearance in 1986.

Now 82, Waiters reflected on the Whitecaps’ historic win Thursday, saying it doesn’t seem all that long ago.

“Forty years has gone by like nothing on Earth. It seems like yesterday,” he said.

The former goalkeeper for England’s national squad spent two and half seasons in Vancouver, chalking up a 66-30 record in NASL play.

He remembers the ‘79 team as a mix of Canadians and a group of Brits who were “hard livers but hard players as well.”

“The fans enjoyed the way we played. Because they were tough guys — had to keep a good eye on them because they could get out of hand very quickly — but they played hard and there were some very attractive players,” Waiters said.

“We had a good team and we had to have a good team to do what we did in the end.”

An estimated 120,000 people came to celebrate in downtown Vancouver after the Whitecaps won the championship, he added.

Meeting Waiters and other members of the ‘79 team was “very cool” for current ‘Caps and Team Canada midfielder Russell Teibert.

The group is still incredibly tight-knit and continue to be passionate about the club, he said.

“It’s not just a championship. It’s something that they live and breathe,” Teibert said. ”The Whitecaps are a team that they love. And the championship didn’t mean something just for one year. This is a championship that we’re celebrating 40 years later.”

There are a lot of lessons today’s Whitecaps can take from the former champions, said centre back Derek Cornelius.

“We’re trying to build a team that’s built off championships, built off winning and they’ve done that,” he said. “To be a club like that, it’s great to lean on someone who’s already been there and take tips and see what we can do to bring us to the next level.”

It’s important for current players to know the Whitecaps’ winning history, Dos Santos said, noting that there are photos from the club’s greatest moments all around its training facilities.

“That shows that you’re a club that wants to go somewhere and a club that respects the past. I think it’s very important,” he said.

“This is what I think a club is about. Many years of history, many things that happened and now we’re here and we want to try to also write a page somehow in the history of our club.”

Knowing that more than a dozen members of the title-winning team will be in the crowd on Friday will be an extra bit of motivation.

“If there was ever a time to win a game for someone or something, it’s (Friday) against Toronto FC,” Teibert said. ”We owe it to the ‘79 team.”

ALSO READ: Former Whitecaps player ‘optimistic’ after meeting about alleged harassment

ALSO READ: Injuries, busy schedule testing Whitecaps depth, character: coach

Gemma Karstens-Smith, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Commemorative plaque stolen from Sandwick Cairn in Courtenay

The peacekeepers plaque has been stolen from the Sandwick Cairn on Dingwall… Continue reading

Painter Fiona Ackerman starts North Island College fall 2019 Artist Talk Series

Acclaimed Vancouver-based painter Fiona Ackerman will join North Island College as the… Continue reading

Comox Valley Record readers ‘Take us Along’ on holidays

When it comes to spreading the news, readers of the Comox Valley… Continue reading

Some Cumberland businesses closing for climate strike rally Friday

A Climate Strike Cumberland Solidarity Rally is set for outside the Cumberland municipal office

Comox contestant competes on Great Canadian Baking Show

Andrea Nauta auditioned for the show before but was lucky second time around

VIDEO: B.C. man accused of assaulting sex worker loses temper in interrogation

Defence lawyer says statements made by accused Curtis Sagmoen should be deemed inadmissible

VIDEO: Fire destroys Williams Lake strip club targeted by past arson attempts

Diamonds and Dust Entertainment Lounge destroyed by fire, crews on scene

Second bat found at Greater Victoria elementary school tests positive for rabies

Island Health confirms second rabies case, this time in Saanich

B.C. man guilty of first-degree murder in Yukon killing

Edward James Penner, 22, was given the mandatory life sentence for the 2017 slaying of 25-year-old Adam Cormack

Woman stabbed at least five times in Nelson during random attack

Victim is in hospital, suspect is in police custody

Victoria man spots online photo of his totem pole 11 years after it was stolen

Mark Trueman restored the pole himself before it was stolen off of his property in Duncan

‘I’d do it again,’ says B.C. man who swam naked, drunk in Toronto shark tank

David Weaver, of Nelson, was drunk when he went to Ripley’s Aquarium in Toronto on Oct. 12 2018

How to react to Trudeau’s racist photos? With humility, B.C. prof says

‘We are now treating racism as a crime that you cannot recover from’

Horvat paces Canucks to 6-1 pre-season win over Oilers

Vancouver improves to 3-1 in NHL exhibition action

Most Read