The crisis around the world means that sports have changed a lot throughout 2020. The crowds are gone, and the teams are limited, but now there is something to add to the list. It appears that Canadian soccer teams will be playing their home games in the US.
A new home
It turns out that Canadian soccer teams will have to get used to some new surroundings for the next part of the MLS season. The Vancouver Whitecaps are used to playing on home turf, but not this year. If you head to Providence Park, you might be surprised to see the club’s colors everywhere you look. If you watch a game on the TV, you may notice the Whitecaps’ sponsors rolling around the boards. That’s because the Canadian soccer team has had no choice but to play the rest of their home games in the US if they want to play them at all. While teams have learned how to adapt, there are still plenty of changes due to travel restrictions.
Keeping things clear
MLS wanted to keep things clear: if Canadian soccer teams wanted to play, it would have to fit the travel restrictions. However, there was a problem. If the Canadian teams headed back to their home stadiums, they and their rival team would have to isolate for two weeks before they would be allowed to play. Of course, this doesn’t fit with the schedule, meaning something had to be done. It wasn’t long before certain home clubs were transformed into new venues for teams like the Whitecaps to use while they’re still playing matches. Coach Greg Vanney says that it “gives a lot of clarity” when it comes to where they need to be and who can travel where, especially after so many months of uncertainty.
Adjusting to the change
Of course, things haven’t been easy for the teams forced to stay in the US rather than heading to their home stadiums. Some players say it is tough to see another team’s sponsors on the wall and to have everything painted in their colors. However, they also know they are lucky to still have the chance to play and practice. Coach Marc Dos Santos has commented that their temporary stadium “will never be home,” but they have to deal with what they have been handed. Although some teams feel it is a disadvantage to the team forced to play away from home, others know that if they can prove their talents when they’re on unfamiliar grounds, they can do anything. Perhaps they will come out the other side a stronger team than ever?
The Orlando bubble was just the beginning, as some Canadian teams have had to come to terms with the fact they won’t be going home for a few weeks. It might not be their natural home turf, but it seems everything has been done to help everyone feel comfortable. Sometimes, the game can get so much, that it can be easy to forget where you are at all.