In celebration of the club's 40th anniversary, Vancouver Whitecaps FC have launched a new Ring of Honour to acknowledge exemplary players and figures who have embodied "Our all. Our honour." and who represent the club's three core values: Unity, Winning, and Honour. Based on input from a selection of alumni, the first four inductees will be Bob Lenarduzzi, Carl Valentine, Domenic Mobilio, and Andrea Neil.
"When we decided to launch our Ring of Honour, we were looking for people who have left a lasting legacy," said Rachel Lewis, Whitecaps FC chief operating officer. "Bobby, Carl, Domenic, and Andrea represent exactly what this club has always stood for and each of them have made remarkable contributions to our club and community. They're exceptionally deserving of being the first four inductees."
Lenarduzzi will be the first to be inducted during the next home match on Saturday, May 3, as he joins the rest of his teammates from the inaugural 1974 Whitecaps team. This match will celebrate the first game in Whitecaps history, played on May 5, 1974, against San Jose Earthquakes – nearly 40 years to the day.
"I'm humbled to be inducted into the Ring of Honour," said Lenarduzzi. "There have been amazing soccer moments in this city over the years and I'm very grateful to have been a part of many of those. Throughout it all I've had incredible teammates, so it will be fantastic to have several of them with me on May 3."
Neil will be inducted on August 10 at BC Place, 10 years after she captained Whitecaps FC to their first United Soccer Leagues W-League championship on August 8, 2004. Two years later, Neil was again captain as the 'Caps won a second W-League championship on August 6, 2006, at Swangard Stadium.
Valentine will be honoured at the September 10 match. On September 9, 1979, a 21-year old Valentine joined his teammates in front of 100,000 people at the championship parade in downtown Vancouver to celebrate the club's Soccer Bowl triumph.
Finally, on October 4, members of the Mobilio family will be at BC Place for the induction of the late striker. After setting a league scoring record and winning league MVP, Mobilio led Vancouver 86ers to their fourth consecutive Canadian Soccer League title on October 6, 1991.
Who should be inducted next into the Ring of Honour? Four nominees have been put forth based on voting received from alumni thus far, with a write-in option also available. Fan voting for the next inductee begins today and will run until the end of May at whitecapsfc.com/since1974.
Ring of Honour Inductees
A product of Grandview Legion minor soccer and member of the Canadian Soccer Hall of Fame, Bob Lenarduzzi has been a part of the Whitecaps since the inaugural season in 1974. Lenarduzzi is the all-time leader in games played in the North American Soccer League with 312 and ranks first all-time for Whitecaps FC in games started with 356 and second all-time in games played with 362. Primarily a left back, Lenarduzzi also sits 13th all-time in club scoring with 34 career goals. In 1978, he was voted as the only Canadian ever to win NASL Player of the Year and in 1979 he helped the club win the NASL Soccer Bowl title. As a player/coach, he led Vancouver 86ers to the CSL title in 1988, and after retiring as a player, he coached the team to another three championships for an unprecedented four straight CSL titles. Internationally, the native of Vancouver, BC, played with Canada at the country's only FIFA World Cup appearance in 1986. Today, after 40 years, Lenarduzzi remains with Vancouver Whitecaps FC as club president.
One of the all-time fan favourites in Vancouver professional sports and a member of the Canadian Soccer Hall of Fame, Carl Valentine is the club's all-time leader in appearances with 409 and fourth all-time in goals scored with 65. The English-born talent arrived in Vancouver for the start of the historic 1979 season and became a key contributor to the club's run to the NASL Soccer Bowl. Valentine would stay in Vancouver until the NASL folded following the 1984 season and would go on to join West Bromwich Albion back in England. The winger represented Canada in the 1986 FIFA World Cup and in 1987 he returned to Vancouver to become a key member of the 86ers team that went on to win a remarkable four straight CSL championships from 1988 to 1991. Valentine played 19 memorable seasons in Vancouver and remains with Whitecaps FC today as club ambassador and Residency staff coach.
The all-time leading scorer in Canadian Soccer League history and the most prolific goalscorer in club history, Domenic Mobilio sits alone atop the charts with 170 career goals – nearly 100 more than any other player. A member of the Canadian Soccer Hall of Fame, the Vancouver, BC-born striker, who is also fifth all-time with 286 appearances, was a member of Vancouver 86ers for each of the team's four consecutive CSL championships from 1988 to 1991. A six-time CSL all-star and league MVP in 1990, Mobilio played a total of 15 seasons in Vancouver. In 2004, Mobilio tragically passed away from a sudden heart attack.
The first female soccer player ever inducted into Canada's Sports Hall of Fame, Andrea Neil had an 18-year career with the Canadian women's national team program, and six years with Whitecaps FC women. From 2001 to 2006, Neil played for the 'Caps (originally known as the Breakers). She was the club's captain for the first six years of the franchise's existence and was a player/assistant coach for the last three seasons. In 2004 and 2006, she led the club to two United Soccer Leagues W-League championship titles. She ended her Whitecaps FC career as the team's all-time leader in assists with 22 and games with 69, as well as third all-time with 24 goals. Internationally, the native of Vancouver, BC, represented her country in four consecutive FIFA Women's World Cup tournaments.