“A Horrific Canadian Soccer Story” – Recent Timeline and Links
In February, a scandal involving the Vancouver Whitecaps & Canada Soccer, based on alleged actions by a former employee, was brought out into the public by a blog post written by a former Whitecaps player, Ciara McCormack. Since then, others have come forward to add their voices of support, as well as bring more information into public view.
As supporters of the Whitecaps we find the initial allegations and subsequent handling of the situation by the Whitecaps executives, both in the past and presently, to be deeply troubling. As time has gone by it has become increasingly difficult to keep track of all of the information that has come to light. We have collected relevant links and material in this post so that others may inform themselves on this important topic. We will attempt to keep it updated as needed.
If you see an omission or error below, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org with the needed correction or additional information.
February 25th, 2019
Ciara’s blog post, posted February 25th, 2019, can be read here:
At the time of the blog’s publishing the coach in question, later identified as Bob Birarda, was a coach of the U-18 girls team at Coastal FC.
February 26th, 2019
BC Soccer issues a public statement about Ciara McCormack’s blog post.
Coastal FC reacts by suspending Birarda from his current duties and comments publicly via their twitter account @Coastal_FC.
February 27th, 2019
The Breaker News publishes a story that positively identifies the coach as Bob Birarda.
CityNews 1130 publish a story, written by Martin MacMahon, about Ciara McCormack’s blog.
February 28th, 2019
J.J. Adams writing for The Province publishes an article on the scandal, with comments from Coastal FC. The Whitecaps decline to comment on specific questions put to them, instead instead issuing a generic statement, parts of which is included in the article.
On Twitter, J.J. Adams recites an updated statement from the Whitecaps, where they indicate they have no record of any inquiries from Coastal FC regarding Birarda.
Caleb Wilkins writes an article on Eighty Six Forever about McCormack’s blog and includes contact information for some of the Whitecaps minority owners.
March 1st, 2019
BC Soccer issues an open letter from its President Kjeld Brodsgaard. In it, BC Soccer commits to an independent third-party review.
March 4th, 2019
Sportsnet 650 produce a podcast episode with hosts Dan Riccio & J.J. Adams speaking to Ciara McCormack about the allegations she made public in her blog post.
March 5th, 2019
Jack Reddy, long-time coach in the metro Vancouver area, issues a statement indicating that senior leadership of Coastal FC were aware of the allegations made against Birarda at the time he joined their club.
March 26th, 2019
Andrea Neil, former Whitecap and Canadian National Women’s Team player, issues a statement of support for Ciara McCormack, adding her own direct knowledge of what transpired.
Andrea Neil’s statement is covered in an article written by J.J. Adams for The Province.
BC Soccer releases an update on their independent third-party review via a tweet.
April 1st, 2019
Twelve players from the 2008 U20 Women’s National Team put out a statement where they detail “incidents of abuse, manipulation, or inappropriate behavior towards players.”
The number of players co-signing the statement is increased to thirteen on April 4th.
The players make 3 key demands in their statement, repeated here to emphasize their importance:
1) That Canada Soccer and the Vancouver Whitecaps implement formal policies using current best practices, that are in line with other elite sports organizations. Hockey Canada lists the following policy on their website: https://cdn.hockeycanada.ca/hockey-canada/Hockey-Programs/Safety/Speak-Out/Downloads/bullying_eng.pdfhas
“It is the policy of Hockey Canada that any Hockey Canada personnel (part-time and full-time staff, volunteer, participant, team official, on ice official) or Hockey Canada partner (parent, guardian) who, has reasonable grounds to suspect that a participant is or may be suffering or may have suffered from emotional, physical abuse and neglect and/or sexual abuse shall immediately report the suspicion and the information on which it is based to the local child protection agency and/or the local police detachment.”
2) Coaches who have behaved inappropriately with players or who demonstrate a pattern of abusive behavior, should not be allowed to retain their coaching licenses.
3) Canada Soccer and the Vancouver Whitecaps should address what happened in 2008, and why Bob was enabled to coach young girls today. We support the full and thorough investigation BC Soccer has announced they will be conducting, with a truly independent third party organization. We call for Canada Soccer and the Vancouver Whitecaps to follow in their footsteps, and conduct their own investigations by also using third-party organizations. We ask for the findings of these three investigations to be made public.https://2008u20statement.wordpress.com/2019/04/01/statement/
The Whitecaps publish a statement on a secondary domain from their primary whitecapsfc.com domain. The text of the statement has previously been sent to many supporters, fans and media who have contacted the club and its executives directly, missing the last paragraph which was added as a result of the U20 blog post.
Note: The link above was overwritten by the statement released by the Whitecaps on April 17th. See below for the original text of the April 1st statement, retrieved from the Internet Archive (archive.org).
April 2nd, 2019
CityNews 1130 publish an article written by Martin MacMahon about the statement issued by the U20 Women’s National Team players. The article includes references to the statement from the Whitecaps where they indicate they have contacted police.
The Globe and Mail publish an article written by Gemma Karstens-Smith about the statement issued by the U20 Women’s National Team players.
April 3rd, 2019
Karin Larsen of the CBC writes about the former U20 players’ statement.
April 4th, 2019
J.J. Adams writes an article for The Province, indicating that the Whitecaps have contacted police due to the allegations made in the statement released by the former U20 Women’s National Team players on April 1st.
The Telegraph publish a story written by Katie Whyatt ahead of the #canWNT match against England.
April 5th, 2019
Whitecaps supporters group Curva Collective issues a public statement of support for the former players.
CityNews 1130 publishes an article by Martin MacMahon regarding the Curva Collective statement.
The Breaker News publishes a story with commentary from Diane Voice, Whitecaps women’s team manager.
April 8th, 2019
Hana Taiji, one of the 13th former U20 National Team players, issues a personal statement.
April 11th, 2019
The Guardian, in the UK, publishes an article on the scandal.
April 15th, 2019
BC Soccer issues a public update on their third-party review (now being called an ‘assessment’), naming Rubin Thomlinson LLP as the firm to perform the assessment of their policies & by-laws, with Ms. Marisha Roman as the project lead.
April 16th, 2019
The Guardian publishes a second article by Matthew Hall containing extensive quotes from former player Eden Hingwing and former Whitecaps Women’s Team manager Diane Voice.
The Southsiders & Curva Collective announce a plan for a limited walk out for the last part of the 1st half of the home game against LAFC. This protest is to show solidarity with the brave women who have come forward to tell their stories, and show collective displeasure at the reaction of the Whitecaps executives to the scandal.
Martin MacMahon of CityNews 1130 publishes an article including an interview with Paul Sabourin-Hertzog, VP of the Southsiders, explaining more about the aims of the supporters protest.
J.J. Adams writes a piece that is published on both the Vancouver Sun and The Province covering the planned protest by supporters. Quotes from an interview with the Southsiders VP are included.
Rob Williams of the Daily Hive writes an article about the planned supporters walkout, including a larger summary of the scandal to date.
Nick Wells writes about the planned supporters action for CTV News.
April 17th, 2019 – Pregame
The Whitecaps release a “Letter to the Whitecaps Community” which is not signed by any executive but rather “Vancouver Whitecaps FC”. You can find a link to it in the following tweet:
Canadian Footy Corner podcast uploads their 7th episode where they talk to Eden Hingwing, spokesperson for the former U20 Canadian Women’s National Team player pool. Discussion of the scandal starts around ~14 minute mark.
Sportsnet 650 radio hosts Dan Riccio and Randip Janda react to the Whitecaps updated statement.
CTV News publishes a a story by Nick Wells including comments from Vancouver Police Department.
April 17th, 2019 – Postgame
The CBC publishes an article with multiple contributors on the supporters protest during the match.
Jon Azpiri with Global News covers the scandal, including the supporters protest.
Karen Larson of the CBC (contributor to the article above) posts a twitter thread regarding the Whitecaps statements and the ombudsperson hired for the third-party review in 2008.
April 18th, 2019
TSN Radio Vancouver 1040 has Ciara McCormack on the Sekeres & Price show for an extended discussion and interview.
Sportsnet Radio 650 has Ciara McCormack on their Reach Deep show with hosts Dan Riccio & Randip Janda.
Harjeet Johal writes for the Daily Hive about the game on the 17th and includes details and social media posts about the protest.
Ed Willes writes a column for The Province covering the scandal.
Daphne Bramham writes a column for the Vancouver Sun about this scandal and the broader problem of abuse across all sports.
April 19th, 2019
Caleb Wilkins writes an analysis of the Whitecaps statement from April 17th on the SBNation blog devoted to covering the Whitecaps, 86Forever.
April 20th, 2019
Harjeet Johal writes about the scandal, including text of a statement from Canada Soccer, on The Equalizer.
April 22nd, 2019
Eoin O’Callaghan writes an article for The 42, an Irish sports news site.
Martin MacMahon of CityNews 1130 writes about season ticket holders cancelling their season tickets in reaction to the Whitecaps executives handling of the scandal.
April 23rd, 2019
Southsiders member Chris Corrigan posts a thread discussing his personal reaction to the scandals that surround the Whitecaps.
A separate scandal is brought to light by Martin MacMahon – Brett Adams is revealed to have left his previous club Notts County in 2013 because of racist actions that the English FA later found “proven”.
April 25th, 2019
The Southsiders board of directors call for a repeat of the 35th minute walkout, as nothing of substance has changed in the Whitecaps executives handling of this scandal since the last home game.
April 26th, 2019
J.J. Adams of the Province covers the announced second walkout, including several comments from the Southsiders Vice President.
Martin MacMahon and Dean Recksiedler write about the second planned walkout.
Rob Williams of the Daily Hive writes about the second planned walkout. https://dailyhive.com/vancouver/whitecaps-fc-southsiders-fans-protest-walk-out
April 27th, 2019
Southsiders board members, members of the Curva Collective, and representatives from Rain City Brigade all meet with Whitecaps executives Rachel Lewis, Greg Anderson, Bob Lenarduzzi, Tom Plasteras, employee Josh Nanavaty and part-owner Jeff Mallett at 11am (3 hours before the scheduled match against Philadelphia).
Ashley Burr of CityNews 1130 puts together a video talking about the walkout as well as the meeting.
Global News put out their own story about the second walkout and meeting between supporters and club.
April 28th, 2019
J.J. Adams writes for the Vancouver Postmedia papers about the meeting between Whitecaps & supporters, and the second walkout protest.
April 29th, 2019
Breakfast Television Vancouver does a segment on the second walkout and meeting between the supporters and Whitecaps executives & management, with Martin MacMahon of CityNews 1130.
Dan Riccio and J.J. Adams discuss the ongoing silence from the Whitecaps & interview Southsiders Vice President as part of their Fine Lines show. https://www.sportsnet.ca/650/fine-lines/april-29-kei-kamara-and-paul-sabourin-hertzog/
The Cambie Report, a local politics podcast hosted by Patrick Meehan, Matthew Naylor and Ian Bushfield, cover the scandal. The perspective is mostly that of Mr. Meehan, Whitecaps season ticket holder and Southsiders member.
May 1st, 2019
Martin MacMahon of CityNews 1130 writes about the Timbers Army / 107IST reaching out to Vancouver supporters about the ongoing scandal & protests.
The Whitecaps release a public letter, signed by co-owners Jeff Mallett and Greg Kerfoot. Included is their timeline of events from 2008.
Local reporters are physically blocked from participating in the private audience held by Jeff Mallett with select media (CTV, Global and Canadian Press were deemed suitable to attend). Martin MacMahon of CityNews 1130, and J.J. Adams of Postmedia, despite their coverage of the issue and repeated requests for comments from the Whitecaps, did not receive invites to speak with Mr. Mallett at all.
Gemma Kerstens-Smith (the Canadian Press reporter), wrote the following story for CP on private audience.
CTV News produced video and published a story by Nick Wells on the private audience with Mr Mallett.
Additonal video from CTV news (3 clips in total) is available here:
May 2nd, 2019
Ciara McCormack publishes a blog addressing the statement released by the Whitecaps on May 1st.
Sportsnet 650 “Starting Lineup” show with James Cybulski, Perry Solkowski & Rick Dhaliwal takes about the Whitecaps media release.
Martin MacMahon writes about questions arising from the statement released by the Whitecaps on May 1st.
Mr Mallett appears on TSN Radio 1040 (interview recorded May 1st).
Joanna Chiu and Cherise Seucharan write for the Star Vancouver about the reaction to the Whitecaps May 1st statement.
North Shore News publishes a long form article written by Andy Prest about Ciara McCormack and the current scandal.
Public Radio International produces a segment about the scandal, including an interview with Ciara McCormack. Transcript available as well as audio.
May 3rd, 2019
Deadspin publishes an article on the scandal.
May 6th, 2019
Two members of the Southsiders Board of Directors appear on Breakfast Television Vancouver to discuss the scandal.
Bob Mackin publishes an interview with former Whitecaps W-League team captain Tiffeny Milbrett on The Breaker News.
Members of the Vancouver Southsiders board of directors and members of Curva Collective meet privately with Ciara McCormack.
May 7th, 2019
Representatives of the Vancouver Southsiders, Curva Collective and Rain City Brigade meet with Whitecaps executives and ownership.
Matthew Hall of The Guardian publishes an interview with CONCACAF president Victor Montagliani.
May 8th, 2019
The Southsiders post a tweet thread summary of the meeting from the previous night:
The Southsiders call for another walkout at the 35th minute in their game day preview. http://vancouversouthsiders.ca/2019/05/mls-round-11-portland-timbers/
The Timbers Army call for their travelling supporters to participate in the walkout. https://timbersarmy.org/Blog/7330553
J.J. Adams of Postmedia writes an article about the meeting, including quotes from former Southsiders President Brett Bird.
Manuel Veth writes for Pro Soccer USA discussing the third walkout.
May 9th, 2019
Karin Larsen of the CBC writes about the planned walkout on Friday’s match against the Timbers, including quotes from both Southsiders and Timbers Army (107 IST) leadership.
Gemma Karstens-Smith of The Canadian Press writes a story published in the Chilliwack Progress.
May 13th, 2019
Ciara McCormack appears on Breakfast Television Vancouver.
Soccer Today! discusses the scandals surrounding the Whitecaps with Southsiders VP Paul Sabourin-Hertzog.
May 14th, 2019
Dan Riccio and J.J. Adams interview Marc Dos Santos on Fine Lines. Questions include staff and players reactions to the walkouts.
Matt Pentz writes an article titled “Ciara McCormack, whistle-blower on a toxic Whitecaps culture, is still waiting for a satisfactory response” for The Athletic. Subscription required. https://theathletic.com/975987/2019/05/14/
The Southsiders call for another walkout during the match against Atlanta United on May 15th.
May 20th, 2019
A private meeting between Whitecaps ownership and a group of the former players occurs.
May 23rd, 2019
The Southsiders call for an end to the walkouts during the Whitecaps games and instead ask for people to #shineALight35 instead.
May 27th, 2019
Ciara McCormack writes another blog post discussing a meeting that happened between Whitecaps ownership and the former players.
The Whitecaps announce that they have retained Sport Law & Strategy Group to conduct a “thorough review of the Club’s current and past safe sport policies and procedures, and its management of those policies…”
May 31st, 2019
Ciara McCormack is interviewed on Sportnet 650’s “Starting Lineup” show hosted by James Cybulski, Perry Solkowski, & Rick Dhaliwal.
Bob Lenarduzzi appears on TSN Radio Vancouver.
June 7th, 2019
Cherise Seucharan of the Vancouver Star writes an article providing an overview of the Southsiders & Curva Collective efforts to support the former Whitecaps & Canada U20 players.