Who referees the referee?

Whitecaps FC vs New England Revolution – Empire Field – April 6, 2011

The Dictionary defines a referee as:

referee n 1. (in some sports) an official who watches a game or match closely to enforce the rules and arbitrate on matters arising from the play.

The FIFA rules of football (soccer) state: “Laws of the Game give “full authority to enforce the Laws of the Game in connection with the match to which he has been appointed” (Law 5)”

No where do I see “influence the outcome of a match”…is it somewhere else in the CONCACAF rule book that this regions football referees need to be so controversial?
Any adjudicated sport or event is open for some controversy due to the fact that it is relying on a matter of opinion. However, it seems like every time a referee steps on the pitch for a North, Central American or Caribbean match there is huge debate over the standard of our referees.

The April 6th match between Whitecaps FC and New England Revolution was no exception. The match saw 8 yellow cards/3 red, in this referee’s 109 match career he’s now handed out 45 red cards, a huge amount for a game that maybe should be one or two yellow’s per match. It was a hard fought battle for 20 minutes as the teams played 10 men (New England) vs 9 men (Whitecaps) with the Whitecaps fighting to hold on to their 1-0 lead only to have it snatched away in added time for a 1-1 final score.

Nine Whitecaps fighting hard to retain their lead

At Empire Field the fervour of the crowd and adrenaline of the game get you going that of course any call against your team is going to be fraught with negativity but after discussing with a friend who watch the telecast I realize it wasn’t all mod mentality going against the ref.  He made some valid calls but made many incorrect calls; carding a player for diving when he was tripped, then giving a card to the opposing player when the same player actually took a dive, giving cards for rough plays that were ‘face to elbow’ not ‘elbow to face’.

Should the players have been more aware of who their ref was going to be and been attuned to the fact he was ‘card happy’ or is the ref out of control with power.

Is the level of play in this region so poor that it makes the ref’s need to aggressively control the rules of play?
Or do our ref’s need to continue their education to learn how to control a match without influencing the outcome?

Which ever the case it certainly ruins the run of the match and for the casual spectator it does nothing to make them ‘fans’.

Applauding the fans for sticking with them

Whitecaps FC vs Sporting Kansas City

Whitecaps FC vs Sporting Kansas City – Empire Field – April 2, 2011

Whitecaps Fans with mascot "Spike"

The sun held the dark clouds at bay while 20,518 Whitecaps fans filled Empire Field for the season’s second home match.

It was nearly a perfect day…if only the ball had gotten past Kansas City’s ‘keeper Jimmy Nielsen , it would’ve been perfect!

From devestating loss to a exhilatating draw in stopped time

Having been held to just one goal by some near misses and brilliant goalkeeping by Nielsen the Whitecaps fans were facing a 3-1 first home loss but just as the sun held out so did theplayers.
With an ample 5 minutes of stoppage time in the second half the Whitecaps lit up the stadium coming back to put the ball in the net twice more to earn a draw and maintain a loss-less home record. Read the full match report on WhitecapsFC.com
If the ‘Caps keep providing excitement it’s only a matter of time before the stands are sold out all season long! Get a ticket and join the White & Blue for a good time!
Next home match at Empire Field is Wednesday April 6, 2011

Top 10 Sporting Event Etiquette Do’s & Don’ts

Of all public spectator events this is the one time you’re invited to be boisterous and loud but still there are ways to make it fun to have fun!

1. DO arrive early…the beer line-ups are long and you don’t want to miss the start of the game.
2. DON’T arrive drunk. It’s great to have a few pre-drinks but remember it takes a while to settle into your system. Timing is everything.
3. DO wear your team’s colours and cheer them on!
4. DON’T disgrace your team’s colours/jerseys by committing a felony when wearing them.  I’m sure they they can do without you being branded as a “TeamX Fan” when you’re arrested.
5. DO engage in a some light hearted ‘trash-talk’ with rival fans.
6. DON’T turn the trash-talk into an all out brawl…a la European soccer hooligans
7. DO sit in the non-alcohol seats if you bring your kids and are looking for a ‘family’ experience.
8. DON’T throw things onto the field of play (except for special occasions…hattricks etc) it just delays the game.
9. DO streak if you really feel the need and if you’re willing to be publicly ridiculed and ejected from the venue. See #2
10. DON’T commentate or coach from your seat. We can all see what’s happening, if we wanted a play-by-play we’d have stayed home.

Whitecaps FC – MLS Kickoff!

It seems even mother nature is a Whitecaps FC fan! The sun and 22,000 fans came out to Empire Field on a bright Saturday afternoon to witness the debut of MLS soccer in Vancouver.

Kick off Celebrations

The storied Vancouver Whitecaps franchise has moved into the ‘big leagues’ and from the showing they displayed, they deserve to be there! Granted it was a match against Canadian rivals Toronto FC, who are perpetual bottom dwellers in the MLS table, but the enthusiasm and skills of the Vancouver side overcame the experienced eastern team.
An ocean of white erupted as designated player Eric Hassli opened the Whitecaps account with a lovely goal in the first half and three more Vancouver goals followed (along with two Toronto ones, but we’ll gloss over those)

All eyes on the ball!

After the first goal broke the ice, the crowd really let lose, the casual fans being carried away by the spirited die-hards who’ve been longing for Whitecaps FC to take its rightful  place among the top tier.  When local boy, Terry Dunfield scored the volume rose even higher as Whitecaps drums were pounded and scarves where thrust into the sky.

The organization did a brilliant job of encouraging but also allowing the spirit and enthusiasm for the team grow organically.  With a countdown to the big match ad campaign nudging this home opener to the top of city’s conscientiousness the rest happened on it’s own.  At game day the crowds were early and ready for the action and the team didn’t disappoint, with a kick off celebration that included new BC Premier Christie Clark and NBA (and part-owner) Steve Nash beating the drums to welcome the players onto the pitch. A multi-cultural drum line was in the upper levels of the stands to help ‘drum’ up support but even without them I think this opening match would have ‘beat’ any other sporting event in the city for atmosphere. Mascot Winger was always a huge part of generating the cheers and noise around the games at Swangard Stadium but here in the large venue it’s harder for a little bird to make his rounds. It didn’t matter, the crowd shouted their own cheers (and jeers to the TFC fans) without any prompting from the winged mascot. With each goal the joy grew and grew until the closing whistle and it spilled out into the street around Empire Field and the party moved on.

Scarves Up!!

A solid season ticket base, an enthusiastic supporters club in the Southsiders leading the cheers, and a talent team on and off the pitch all combine to elevate the team to a major force of spirit.  The word of mouth from this display of Whitecaps fever will definitely spread through the city ensuring all games will have this amazing feeling (hopefully mother nature feels the same way and keeps us dry)

2010 Olympic Memories

From February 12 – 28, 2010 Vancouver welcomed the world but more importantly woke up to the world and became a global city! The 2010 Winter Olympic Games finally arrived in Vancouver after a decade of pitches, plebiscites, planning, building, protests, decorating and some more protests.

In typical Vancouver fashion the very vocal naysayers seemed to have the ears and eyes of the public while the organizing committee went about their business.  Economic boom years at the start of the process gave way to an unprecedented economic bust right at the eleventh hour…sponsors went bankrupt, builders financing collapsed, income dropped & unemployment skyrocketed.  Were the Games in trouble? They weren’t in the financial shape they’d hoped to be but the committee persevered, they’d come this far…the finish line was in site
[cincopa AsNAxfKiQ2rF]
By the time the Olympic Torch completed it’s epic journey along the longest relay in history, none of the ‘issues’ mattered…this was The Olympics and judging by the spontaneous euphoria that the people of Vancouver displayed they were in need of a party! Party they did…every moment for 17 amazing days thousands poured into downtown Vancouver! The pavilions were lined up with crowds wanting to catch a glimpse of the Olympic Medals at the Royal Canadian Mint or watch a concert at LiveCity Yaletown or even just enjoy the camaraderie of having a beer and watching the game on a big screen in Celtic House.

After years of being “No-Fun” Vancouver and being wary of congregating in large groups the populous had had enough and they got their wanted to show that it was indeed OK to have fun and enjoy the moment. Never in Olympic, and certainly not in Vancouver’s, history had there been such an exuberant display of national and civic pride!

Those who left town or stayed away realized they missed out, those who participated will never forget and everyone now knows that Vancouver, has what it takes to be a World Class City.

What were your favourite memories of the Games?

As we celebrate the one year anniversary of the 2010 Games, relive your memories with lots of activities throughout Vancouver. Check out where to “Share the Spirit” this weekend by visiting the City Of Vancouver website

BC Lions – Empire Field

BC LIONS vs SASKATCHEWAN ROUGHRIDERS : EMPIRE FIELD – 31October2010

Finally, on the last home game of the season, I made it to Empire Field!
While BC Place is under renovations the CFL’s BC Lions have ventured across town to their old East Van stomping grounds and encamped at a temporary 27,000 stadium at Empire Field.
I’d heard all season about the great views and audience experience and I must agree they have done an exceptional job for a temporary venue. We had great seats (thanks Pam!) in the second row, right behind the Lions bench but it looked like every row had great sightlines of the field. There was decent, fast service at the concession stands and beer stalls around the outside of the stadium. Since it was a dry, warm afternoon when the game started it made the experience even better. 
The Half-Time show on this day was a tribute to Veterans in commemoration of the upcoming Veteran’s Week. It was a really well done half time experience. I know from speaking with Lion’s management that there were a lot of other great half time shows over the season. So even though at the begining of the season the Lions weren’t putting on a lot of winning shows they still entertained the audience. This seems to have paid off, if the looks and sounds of the boisterous Halloween day crowd is anything to go by, they were still firmly pro-Lions (much to the dismay of the many wearing ’Riders green in the crowd) 
Next season Empire Field will be temporary home to another football club as Whitecaps FC begin their premier MLS season at the field they also played on back in the NASL era.  Once BC Place is completed, scheduled for June, the Whitecaps and Lions will play under its new retracable roof and Empire Field’s temporary structures will come down and it will revert back to a public field.
I look forward to seeing more games at Empire!

Metropolis Hot Seats – Rogers Arena

Last night I had the privilege of watching the Vancouver Canucks overtime win against the Colorado Avalanche from the comfort of a Penthouse Executive Suite at Rogers Arena.  The game also featured a pre-game induction of the Canucks first Captain Orland Kurtenbach into the new Ring Of Honour.
The great folks at Metropolis at Metrotown hosted a Social Media night to introduce us to Metropolis Hot Seats.  It turned out to be a great tweet-up as many of us followed each other on twitter but hadn’t yet met in real life. 
@Vancitybuzz @Erin_Ireland @Mozy19 @Kristen24Hours @Maryinvancity @VIAwesome were there, as well as writers for @MyVancouver and @Miss604

As you can see from the images above the view is amazing from the 5th level suite, if (for some reason) you tire of the view or peckish head inside to the lounge area, grab some food and a beverage then sit back in the comfy leather chairs and watch the game feed on the large screen tv!
The Suite has all the comforts of home, if home had a live NHL game happening in the rink downstairs!

You can win the chance to experience these Hot Seats to a Canucks game or concert for yourself, just look for an entry box at a Metropolis at Metrotown Customer Service Desk.  Metropolis is putting lucky winners in the Hot Seats for every event at Rogers Arena throughout the year! 

Follow @metropolitmet on Twitter, ‘Like’ Metropolis At Metrotown on Facebook and visit their website for up to date information on the next contest.