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Whitecaps start countdown

Soccer fans in Vancouver are less than a year away from watching their team return to the top level of professional soccer in North America.

Soccer fans in Vancouver are less than a year away from watching their team return to the top level of professional soccer in North America.

On Thursday, the Whitecaps FC marked the one-year countdown of joining Major League Soccer.

“With every project, you’d like to see the finish line in sight,” said new Whitecaps CEO Paul Barber.

“It can be a little scary, because there is a lot to do.”

Milestones that the franchise must reach in the next 12 months include signing a major company as a shirt sponsor and the unveiling of their new uniforms, which is planned for late spring or early summer.

They are also trying to build a training facility and will have to move stadiums twice, from Swangard to Empire and then to B.C. Place.

The first block of 5,000 season tickets sold out in less than 48 hours. Barber said there is great support for soccer in Vancouver, with a waiting list having already formed of people wanting tickets.

The team is planning to release another block of season tickets imminently.