SB Nation Soccer welcomes its third new member in as many days, additions that span the English Premier League (Chelsea), Major League Soccer (Houston), and for one more year, USSF Division II. Come this time next year, however, the Vancouver Whitecaps will be part of an 18-team domestic first division, so no better time than the present to welcome Eighty Six Forever - SB Nation's latest venture into the soccer-crazy northwest.
For site manager Benjamin Massey, known around these parts for his work at Copper & Blue, the need for coverage goes beyond the Whitecaps, with much of Western Canada's soccer deserving another voice.
I am a proud Voyageur and a proud Vancouver Southsider. In spite of my best efforts to avoid it, I became a Whitecaps fan after moving to Victoria and being infected by the contagions of their fantastic fans and professional organization. But I am also a western Canadian to the core. I've followed the developments of FC Edmonton and the Victoria Highlanders with equal excitement. You can't swing a dead cat without hitting a pundit for Toronto FC or the Montreal Impact, but on a national level the Whitecaps and their lower-division western rivals go almost entirely neglected. So I take perverse joy in writing the stories nobody else is writing about the teams nobody east of Winnipeg cares about.
Over the coming weeks, that's exactly what I'm going to do. There'll be plenty of Whitecaps content, of course: news, game notes, opinion pieces, the treacly editorial that is the province of the sports blogger. The Canadian national team and their two friendlies at the beginning of September will certainly not go neglected. But you'll also read about FC Edmonton's latest foibles, or maybe big news out of Abbotsford's PDL team. If you want yet another reaction to Chad Barrett's inaccuracy or Stefan Frei's brilliance, you're in the wrong place, but if your idea of a soccer-loving Canada stretches from the Pacific to the Atlantic then welcome aboard.
And welcome aboard to you, Benjamin Massey, the manager of SB Nation's latest soccer site: Eighty Six Forever.