Full house at BC Place.
Canada Soccer is expecting a full house at BC Place on Friday night as Canada continues their road to the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia. It will be a landmark night for soccer in Canada, with the record crowd there to help Canada chase group leaders Mexico in Group A of the CONCACAF semi-finals of FIFA World Cup Qualifiers.
With a limited inventory of tickets remaining, our Men’s National Team will be looking up to a sea of #CanadaRED support. At stake is a spot in the hexagonal CONCACAF Final Round, with only two teams from each group advancing to the “Hex” after this six-match series wraps up in September 2016.
The Friday 25 March match kicks off at 19.00 local, with a live, nation-wide broadcast on TSN2 and RDS at 22.00 ET / 19.00 PT. An away match follows just four days later in Mexico at the famous Azteca Stadium, with that match to kick off at 20.30 local (live broadcast on TSN2 and RDS INFO at 22.30 ET / 19.30 PT).
The Friday match will mark the highest Canada Soccer attendance for a Men’s National Team game in Canada and should break the record for the highest attendance for a national team event – of any sport – on home soil in this country. The previous record for a Men’s National Team match was 51,936 for a 1994 Men’s International Friendly in Edmonton, Alberta. The record for a national team event in Canada is 54,027, set last year for Canada’s quarter-final match at the FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015.
“It seems like everyone is ready for it and I am so happy to be Canadian at this moment,” said Tosaint Ricketts, Canada’s active leading scorer. “To get a full house is a dream come true for a Canadian kid.”
It has been a big week for Canada in the build up to the Friday night international match, with daily training at BC Place in preparation before kickoff. Canadian fans have also been getting ready for the event, highlighted by a Canada Soccer Fan Rally on the eve of the match.
“Such a big crowd is very important for Canadian soccer,” said Benito Floro, Canada Soccer’s Men’s National Team Head Coach. “It would be very good to get a result and play well for our supporters.”
GATES OPEN TWO HOURS BEFORE KICK OFF
Fans are encouraged to arrive early on match day with the BC Place gates set to open at 17.00, a full two hours before the 19.00 kickoff. With such a full crowd, early entry will help to ensure that all fans are able to safely and efficiently make their way to their seats for warm-up and a special pre-match presentation made to Canadian captain Julian de Guzman in recognition of him setting the all-time appearances record for Canada.
The first 5,000 fans will receive a free match roster sheet, including a Julian de Guzman poster.
VISIT THE #CanadaRED FAN FEST!
Fans are encouraged to make their way to the Terry Fox Plaza to check out the activations and fan giveaways from Canada Soccer’s partners. Fans can also meet former Canada Soccer Men’s National Team forward Rob Friend between 5:30 and 6:30. Fans can also test their EA FIFA 16 video game skills as well as check out the BC Sports Hall of Fame special collection of soccer artifacts.
ROAD TO THE 2018 FIFA WORLD CUP RUSSIA
The 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ is the biggest single-sport event in the world. From 209 member associations from around the world, 32 finalists will qualify for the 32-day event that is played in 11 cities from 14 June to 15 July 2018.
Canada are amongst the 12 CONCACAF nations in the hunt for a spot at the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia. The remaining nations have been split into three groups for the continent’s 2015-2016 semi-final stage. The top-two nations in each group will advance to the final round in 2017, from which three nations qualify for Russia 2018 and the fourth team advances to an intercontinental playoff.
In CONCACAF Round 4, Canada will play six matches, with both a home and away encounter against Honduras, El Salvador and Mexico. Matches will be played over three international windows, with Canada gaining a valuable four points after the first two matches with a victory over Honduras (1:0) at home on 15 November 2015 and a draw in El Salvador (0:0) on 17 November 2015.
Following the home and away matches with Mexico on 25 and 29 March, 2016, Canada then faces Honduras away and El Salvador at home again in September 2016.
Canada Soccer outlines return to soccer guidelines. The return to soccer guidelines provide member organizations with a five-step process, including a checklist of weighted questions known as the Return to Soccer Assessment Tool.