Vancouver FC Confirmed as the Second CPL BC Team – Analysis

Vancouver FC confirmed their head coach, who is Afshin Ghotbi on Wednesday

ANALYSIS – Metro Vancouver has their second CPL team. Vancouver FC will be the name of the team. This will be the fifth Pacific Northwest team in the top flight of professional men’s soccer. Additionally, Metro Vancouver becomes only the fourth city in North America (excluding Mexico) to have more than one professional men’s soccer team in the top flight of soccer. The other metropolitan areas in Canada and the U.S. are New York City, Los Angeles, and Toronto, which has a CPL team called York United FC.

Second CPL BC Team: Vancouver FC Confirmed

New Head Coach: Afshin Ghotbi

Afshin Ghotbi is an Iranian-American head coach. In terms of experience coaching in North America, he was an assistant coach with the LA Galaxy from 2004-05 and an assistant with the USMNT from 1997-98. Most notably, he coached Iran from 2009-11 and he most recently coached Cangzhou Mighty Lions F.C. from the Chinese Super League. This is what Ghotbi said about the CPL:

“Firstly, I have been watching Canadian football in its development and growth and I am really impressed by the quality of players in such a short time, four years, what this league has done. Secondly, it was the ownership, I have known Rob for over 10 years, I recruited him and tried to bring him to the J-League while I was coaching there, and he was playing in Germany at the time, and for different reasons, the soccer gods did not allow it to happen.”

The third reason for Ghotbi accepting this position was that he “really missed my family,” and being in Vancouver, which is closer to California, where his family currently lives, was a great place to coach.

Ghotbi’s family has been in Los Angeles since he was 13 years old. Also, Ghotbi founded a well-known youth football academy called AGSS in Southern California. They developed players like Peter Vagenas and John O’Brien. In particular with O’Brien, AGSS helped him get to play club soccer in the Netherlands according to Jim Riggio of the LA Times:

“First I went to a three-week training session arranged by my assistant coach who knew someone [there],” O’Brien said of AGSS. “Then I came home and they said they would keep their eye on me. I was 14 at the time. Two years later, they invited me back for a trial.”

The Logo of Vancouver FC Confirmed

Vancouver FC’s logo has an eagle in the centre of it. According to John Jacques of the Northern Tribune, it is supposed to look “clean, humble, and flexible.” The eagle’s wings represent the bridge cables connecting to the Lower Mainland. This is what co-founder, Rob Friend, who is also part of SixFive Sports & Entertainment said about the logo:

“When you look at the colours, you look at the branding, it’s raw, it’s gritty, it’s a little bit street, which I think is the essence of football,” said co-founder Rob Friend, who also has a stake in the island’s Pacific FC. “The game is played in the streets around the world, so I think having a little bit of that street edge, rougher tones, and a very simple clean name, all of the branding elements come together nicely when you see it.”

The logo is simple and will have colours like white, black, and red with the team. The logo does not try to do too much and it is quite clear with the V Eagle what the team is trying to portray.

Read More: The Relationship Between the Canadian MLS Teams and CPL

The Population of Metro Vancouver and the Township of Langley

43.1 percent of the population (1,124,475) from Metro Vancouver have a connection from Europe. The most significant minority groups are the Chinese and South Asians. The Chinese account for 19.6 percent (512,260) while the South Asians comprise 14.2 percent of the population (369,295). This is while the only other group with more than 100,000 people, the Filipinos, have 5.5 percent of the Metro Vancouver population (142,125) according to Statistics Canada in 2021.

The Township of Langley’s population was covered in a previous article when Langley officially got a CPL team. According to Statistics Canada in 2021, Langley has a population of 115,835 with the largest minority population being South Asians, Chinese, and Koreans. Additionally, the Township of Langley also has a good percentage of the Aboriginal population. Additionally, the total population of the Fraser Valley region is 295,934 people in 2016 according to Statistics Canada.

The Current Landscape of Sports in Metro Vancouver

With the addition of Vancouver FC, Metro Vancouver now has six professional sports teams. Four of them play in downtown Vancouver including the Vancouver Canucks (NHL), Vancouver Warriors (NLL), BC Lions (CFL), and the Vancouver Whitecaps FC (MLS).

Additionally, there are three teams located in the Township of Langley that has the “Vancouver” name. The Vancouver Giants (junior hockey WHL team) and the Vancouver Bandits (CEBL team) play at the Langley Events Centre. Vancouver FC, which will likely be known as VFC, will play at Willoughby Community Park in Langley, BC at the Langley Events Centre. The stadium will still need to be built.

With Vancouver co-hosting the FIFA World Cup in 2026, there is a lot to look forward to for British Columbian soccer.

British Columbia Soccer is on the Rise as Vancouver FC Confirmed

There are three professional men’s soccer teams in BC now. The reigning Voyageurs Cup Champions, Vancouver Whitecaps FC, play in MLS while the 2021 North Star Shield champions, Pacific FC, and Vancouver FC play in the CPL. League1BC will also have an entrant for the very first time in the 2023 Canadian Championship, which will be the TSS Rovers.

The number of British Columbia teams will go from two to four teams in the 2023 Canadian Championship. They will also be nine CPL teams and 15 Canadian Championship teams (depending on what happens to FC Edmonton, but it has been reported by Thomas Nef of the Northern Futbol Podcast that the team would fold, but there has been no official confirmation on this.

Photo Credit: Vancouver FC/Beau Chevalier on November 2, 2022.