Vancouver Whitecaps midfielder Pedro Morales has enjoyed his stay in Major League Soccer with one of the most well supported clubs in the league, getting to ply his footballing trade in the Pacific Northwester where the Whitecaps’ Southsiders supporters rival the likes of equally passionate fanbases in Seattle with the Sounders and the Portland Timbers.
Getting to play in the loud atmosphere at BC Place, Morales made a bold statement this week when he told reporters that he feels that soccer can overtake hockey in the distant future in Canada. Something that attracts national attention in a country that treats hockey like a religion:
From SI’s Planet Futbol:
“I can feel the excitement of the fans that fill BC Place every game,” Morales told reporters Monday through translator Omar Salgado at Vancouver International Airport. “That environment that there is in Spain and these other countries is coming into countries like Canada and the US.
“It feels like soccer can take over hockey and football one day, and it should happen in 10, 20 years.”
Morales played for Malaga in La Liga and is a former Chilean international, so he is well travelled and has played in some of the biggest stadiums in the world to know what a passionate atmosphere feels like during a match. However it is unlikely that Morales knows about hockey’s true popularity in Canada where the game touches areas that Major League Soccer will never touch as Canada’s national sport in a country that has long winters. While the sport is popular in Canada and attendances are strong in both Toronto and Vancouver this season at MLS matches, the league and sport have a long way to go before they reach the popularity that hockey has in the country.