Afshin Ghotbi, 58, leads the Vancouver FC soccer club as the first head coach in club history. (CPL/Special to Langley Advance Times)

Afshin Ghotbi, 58, leads the Vancouver FC soccer club as the first head coach in club history. (CPL/Special to Langley Advance Times)

Excitement building to play soccer home opener in Lower Mainland May 7

Vancouver Football Club focuses on Halifax game today, then first-ever match in Langley

Head coach Afshin Ghotbi and his new Vancouver FC pro soceer team are hype knowing they’ll be playing their home opener in Langley next weekend.

But for now, their focus has had to be on preparing mentally and physically for today’s game against the Halifax Wanderers FC.

“For us as a young team, also as an expansion team, to have all these matches away – this is our fourth match away – it’s actually been a great opportunity for us to spend a lot of time together as a team and players have gotten to really like each other and be together and grow as a family. And, I believe that’s one of the advantages of playing all these away games,” Ghotbi shared Friday.

“On the other hand, we really can’t wait to play at home for the first time with our fans, which have shown – even on away games – their support for us.”

Halifax, which has yet to win a game this season, is what Ghotbi describes as an organized team – much like the VFC. He compared Saturday’s game to a chess match, saying VFC will be demonstrating its talent and strategic strengths.

“I hope fans tune in,” said the coach. “I think it’s going to be a beautiful game, especially the forecast for the weather, it’s going to be sunny and on a grass pitch with a sold out stadium. It’s going to be dandy.”

Vancouver FC is coming off a busy first week of competitive matches, with the club playing twice in the league and once in the Canadian Championship over seven days.

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Despite the hectic starting schedule, where VFC most recently earned its first win after last Saturday’s victory against York United FC, 2-1 (the first win in franchise history), Ghotbi noted there were “thankfully” no injuries and his players were progressing and improving game over game.

To hopefully ensure that continues, he explained that part of VFC’s preparation time was not so much focused on training this week as much as simply relaxing and recovering – to making sure the team is well rested for play at Wanderers Ground in Halifax, N.S. at 11 a.m. PT/2 p.m. ET.

Among the players excited to be suiting up for play against the Wanderers today is defensive midfielder Elliot Simmons, a 25-year-old hailing from England, but he’s seems more charged about next weekend’s game at home in Langley – against his former teammates from Calgary.

“It’s been great training in Langley, and it’s really cool to see the stadium being built day by day,” Simmons shared.

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“I think we went away for five or six days and we came back and there was a brand new side to the stadium. Yeah, it’s changing so quickly and I think it goes by the motto of brick by brick, as it’s literally getting built. Everyday there’s something new that’s changing – same with the team,” he said.

“I think it’s going to be really exciting to finish here [Halifax] this weekend then come back for the home opener and hopefully some good momentum behind us and full of confidence,” Simmons concluded in a pre-match press conference Friday.

West Coast-based fans can catch the Halifax match on dedicated soccer channel OneSoccer, available to all Canadian households through, via Roku, Chromecast and Apple TV devices and with the OneSoccer app for iOS and Android devices.

OneSoccer is also available as a linear channel on Optik TV (Ch.980), the pay-TV service operated by TELUS, one of Canada’s ‘big three’ telecoms companies, as well as on streaming service fuboTV Canada.

Vancouver returns to the West Coast next weekend to host the club’s inaugural home opener at Willoughby Park (next to Langley Events Centre) on Sunday, May 7 at 4 p.m., facing off against Cavalry FC.

Vancouver FC was founded last year as a member of Canadian Premier League (CPL), Canada’s Tier 1 domestic men’s soccer league. It’s kicked off its first season earlier this month.

It might be a fledgling team, but Ghotbi is impressed so far.

“We have a team that’s really bubbling with hope and enthusiasm, ambition and lots of potential,” said the coach.

For more, people can stay tuned to and follow the club on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for the latest news and updates.


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Afshin Ghotbi, 58, leads the Vancouver FC soccer club as the first head coach in club history. (CPL/Special to Langley Advance Times)

Afshin Ghotbi, 58, leads the Vancouver FC soccer club as the first head coach in club history. (CPL/Special to Langley Advance Times)