Whitecaps going to MLS

The Vancouver Whitecaps are going to Major League Soccer. (Sun Media/Craig Robertson)

The Vancouver Whitecaps are going to Major League Soccer. (Sun Media/Craig Robertson)

BOB MACKIN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:02 AM ET

Major League Soccer is coming to Vancouver in 2011.

That will be announced at a morning news conference by MLS commissioner Don Garber.

Lawyers for the U.S.-based league, which includes Toronto FC, were finalizing details with the Vancouver Whitecaps on Tuesday. Premier Gordon Campbell and Mayor Gregor Robertson, will appear at the news conference with former Yahoo president Jeff Mallett. Mallett will represent the ownership group of Whitecaps' owner Greg Kerfoot, Steve Luczo and Steve Nash, the two-time NBA MVP and brother of captain Martin Nash.

Vancouver will become the 17th franchise in 2011 after $365 million of renovations are completed at B.C. Place Stadium, including a new retractable roof. Whether Whitecaps remains the club name in two years has not been confirmed.

The Whitecaps were United Soccer Leagues' First Division champions in 2006 and 2008. The original club was in the North American Soccer League from 1974-1984 and won its only Soccer Bowl in 1979. MLS was a legacy of the U.S.-hosted 1994 World Cup. The Whitecaps are preparing for the 2009 USL season with a training camp that ends today in Tanzania.

Montreal, Atlanta and Miami withdrew their expansion franchise bids, leaving Vancouver, Portland, Ore., St. Louis, and Ottawa. Portland is expected to score the 18th franchise.

The 2009 MLS season begins Thursday when the Seattle Sounders host the New York Red Bulls in Qwest Field.


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