What is the Southside?
The Southside is a supporters group for the Vancouver Whitecaps FC. It’s members, The Southsiders, stand, sing and above all else support the players on the field.
The Vancouver Southsiders hold firm in their belief that when it comes to football, their city and their nation are out of step with the rest of the world. They refuse to conform to Vancouver’s inherently quiet and reserved nature. They are fierce in their support for their football club, and they shall fearlessly lead newcomers by example. They will welcome all who wish to join us, and they will extend to them the same friendship and camaraderie that has been the foundation of this organization from its humble beginnings. The Southsiders are not to be confused with Ultras or Hooligans, as they are vehemently against violence and racism
Why Were The Southsiders Created?
In 1999, a small group of strangers were drawn together by their mutual passion for the Vancouver 86ers football club (later renamed back to Vancouver Whitecaps FC). These people shared the belief that the most successful professional sports team in Vancouver history was deserving of a vocal, visible and energetic supporters group akin to those which exist throughout the world in places where football ranks highly in terms of importance to local and national sporting culture.
In time this supporters group came to be known as the Vancouver Southsiders. They took their name from the location behind the south goal at Swangard where they proudly stood. Their numbers continue to grow over the years, even as their beloved football team struggles to establish credibility within a hockey-centric sporting market which has historically ignored or dismissed it.
The Formation of The Southside
Since their humble beginnings in 1999, the Southsiders were a loosely formed group without an official structure. There were no memberships, elected officials or formal communication with Whitecaps FC. In 2008, the stadium security at Swangard stadium began to crack down on certain Southside activities deemed “undesirable”. The result was friction between the club and it’s supporters. Two senior members of the Southside stepped forward to informally represent the group . Through a series of meeting with the Whitecaps FC front office they where able to reach agreements in which the Southsiders were able to remain true to their values, see an improvement of their match day experience , and no longer clash with security. At the 2008 holiday party, these same two senior members were elected as Club Liason Officers to continue this dialogue with the club.
At the conclusion of the 2009 season it was clear that the Southsiders needed to look ahead to the club’s entry into the MLS . The group needed to get organized in order to be able to welcome the waves of new MLS Whitecaps supporters into the Southside. A series of meetings were held in the post season to determine the core values and the desired direction of the group. During this process three key questions where asked of the current membership pertaining to the Southside experience. The results from these ‘Founders’ in order of importance were:
Vision for the ideal Southside Experience
- Organized songs and chants
- A massive group that fills an entire end
- All fans standing and actively participating
- Large scale organized tifo
- Organized leadership
- Away Trips
- Pre-match Gatherings
- Non-match social events
- To be the best supporters in MLS
- Find ways to generate funds for tifo and other projects