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’ 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

Two volunteers work to sieve a sample of sand and ocean water through a filter, capturing any potential microplastics. (Courtesy of Ocean Diagnostics)
Victoria startup making waves in microplastics research

New products from Ocean Diagnostics will make research faster, more affordable

Willows Beach in Oak Bay. (Black Press Media file photo)
Seven days of sun set to shine on Greater Victoria

Special weather statement warns of higher than usual temperatures

Chef Trevor Randle leads a June 21 online cooking featuring recipes – beef zesty lettuce wraps, blueberry strudel and blueberry spritzer. (Courtesy We Heart Local BC)
Free online cooking course explores B.C. blueberries and beef

Chef Trevor Randle calls them the province’s most flavourful foods

Shaelyn Sinnott of Oak Bay Volunteer Services delivers groceries for client Irene Kenny. The organization has kept up delivery of food and medication throughout all phases of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Courtesy Oak Bay Volunteer Services)
Oak Bay volunteers keep critical services running

Duo drove between Oak Bay and Jubilee three days a week, twice a day during pandemic

Al Kohut, owner of the new photographers GALLERY, checks out Looking Back by David Bradt. The photo printed on canvas is among 50 images featured in the Birds on the Wild Side exhibition showing until July 3. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Photo gallery in Sidney plucks out top bird photos

Birds on the Wild Side show running at the new photographers GALLERY until July 3

Jesse Roper tackles weeds in his garden to kick off the 2021 season of What’s In My Garden Man? (YouTube/Whats In My Garden)
VIDEO: Metchosin singer-songwriter Jesse Roper invites gardeners into his plot

What’s In My Garden, Man? kicks off with the poop on compost

FILE – Most lanes remain closed at the Peace Arch border crossing into the U.S. from Canada, where the shared border has been closed for nonessential travel in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Thursday, May 7, 2020, in Blaine, Wash. The restrictions at the border took effect March 21, while allowing trade and other travel deemed essential to continue. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Feds to issue update on border measures for fully vaccinated Canadians, permanent residents

Border with U.S. to remain closed to most until at least July 21

A portion of the George Road wildfire burns near Lytton, B.C. in this Friday, June 18, 2021 handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, BC Wildfire Service *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Blaze near Lytton spread across steep terrain, says BC Wildfire Service

Fire began Wednesday and is suspected to be human-caused, but remains under investigation

Blair Lebsack, owner of RGE RD restaurant, poses for a portrait in the dining room, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. Canadian restaurants are having to find ways to deal with the rising cost of food. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Canadian restaurateurs grapple with rising food costs, menu prices expected to rise

Restaurants are a low margin industry, so there’s not a lot of room to work in additional costs

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Fort St. John man arrested after allegedly inviting sexual touching from children

Two children reported the incident to a trusted adult right away

A Lotto 6/49 ticket purchased in Parksville for the June 19, 2021 draw is a $3M winner. (Submitted photo)
Winning Lotto 6/49 ticket worth $3M purchased on Vancouver Island

Lottery prize winners have 52 weeks to claim jackpot

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

Most Read