Match: Vancouver Whitecaps Residency vs. Washington Crossfire
Date: Sunday, June 19, 2011
League: United Soccer Leagues Premier Development League (fourth-division)
Percy Perry Stadium was built two decades ago for the 1991 BC Summer Games, and received significant renovations in 2007. The grass pitch was ripped up and replaced with FieldTurf; and in order to provide the citizens of Coquitlam with more colour to their suburban lives, at least three different colours of sports lines were permanently etched onto the playing surface. (And when the stadium is named after a track-and-field legend, it’s your first hint that you’re not venturing onto a football-specific ground.)
Percy Perry Stadium was formerly the home of Khalsa Sporting Club of the 5th-division PCSL, and one of the auxiliary pitches is still used today by Coquitlam Metro-Ford SC’s women’s team.
I first visited the ground shortly after the 2007 renovations, for a relocated friendly between Canada U-20s and Scotland U-20s that served as a warm-up match for the 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup held here in Canada. (If you’re not aware, Canada was tremendously dominant, and went on to beat Brazil by an 8-0 scoreline in the final.) I have fond memories of the place, as it was the venue of my first match back in Canada after several years overseas.
Four years later, I was back to watch the Vancouver Whitecaps Residency (academy) take on the Washington Crossfire (of Everett, Washington) in the USL PDL – the Yank/Canadian fourth division.
It’s a fairly open ground, with a plastic pitch and a running track, but the architecture and intimacy of the main (and only) stand makes for a nice day out. The stunning background of Coquitlam’s mountains also makes for an aesthetically-pleasing experience. This ground would be ideal as the permanent venue for a PDL club, except for the fact that public transport links are rather poor.
Unusually for these types of municipally-owned grounds, there is even a concessions booth. No Bovril, though!
The match was contested between Vancouver Whitecaps Residency (the academy of the Major League Soccer club) and Washington Crossfire (based in Redmond, Washington, on the outskirts of Seattle) in the USL PDL, the fourth division of Canadian and Yank football that (unless divisions higher in the pyramid) is flourishing and rapidly expanding.
The Vancouver squad was depleted, due to five call-ups by the Canadian national team for the FIFA U-17 World Cup in Mexico. Washington, however, were at full strength, and included a defender who took throw-ins via a somersault:
As you might expect, he is mocked mercilessly at every away match that he travels to. However, his odd throw-ins admittedly result in extremely long throws, and have often led to goals.
Ground – Pros:
- Stand has nice architecture (and provides cover from rain)
- Stunning view of Coquitlam mountains
- Concession stand/Washrooms
Ground – Cons:
- Artificial turf with lines for several sports
- Running track
- Out in the suburbs (public transit can take two hours from Vancouver)
Ground – Quirky:
- Speaker system sounds like it’s from the 1950s… either that or AM radio with poor reception