The Yanks are going to kick out the jams in Vancouver this weekend. Team USA faces Nadeshiko Japan in the final match of the FIFA Women’s World Cup on Sunday afternoon.
Those crazy American Outlaws (the 30,000-strong national soccer support club) have already invaded every Canadian city that has hosted their team. They call themselves outlaws because soccer is an outlier spectator sport in the U.S., lost in the mainstream shadows of the football, basketball and baseball.
Except in the Pacific Northwest, which just happens to be a stadium-filling hotbed for Major League Soccer and its hardcore fans.
Outlaw territory includes Vancouver, home to the Whitecaps. We’re like family. So when the U.S. faced Nigeria here last month, they jammed the northbound border crossings, marched through the streets in their stars-and-stripes colours and commandeered most of the seats in BC Place stadium.
Now their girls are gunning for the cup. And the final game goes back-to-back with Independence Day. Prepare for some spectacular gangland mayhem.
The FIFA championship game has been sold out for months. But here are a few hot spots where patch members and exiled ticket holders will be banding together to catch the action.
Night Before Party: Commodore Ballroom
The famous dance floor is going to bouncing when the American Outlaws descend on Vancouver’s renowned Art Deco music venue Saturday night for the FanHQ event. DJ Spin Easy from New York will be rocking the Fourth of July set. Doors open at 7 p.m. Non-members welcome. Free admission for the first 1,000 guests.
Pregame Party I: Commodore Ballroom
The whole gang, including DJ Spin Easy, returns to the scene of the crime for the pre-match party on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Same rules apply.
Pre-game Party II: Doolins Irish Pub and The Belmont Bar
It’s going to be like Mardi Gras. The Americans are taking over the downtown Granville Street pedestrian zone. Just down from the Commodore, the FIFA Finale Up and Down Party will spill over two floors, featuring “great drink specials… promotional girls…Whitecap Ticket giveaways… and a secret grand prize.”
March to the BC Place Stadium
About an hour prior to kickoff, the American Outlaw March to victory will start at Doolin’s, pick up speed and more participants when it passes the Commodore, turn on Robson Street and descend in raucous chanting, flag-waving mob on BC Place Stadium.
FIFA Fan Zone
No tickets? No problem. The free, family-friendly Vancouver Fan Zone in Larwill Park (capacity 4,500) is just steps from the stadium. Open on Sunday from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m., the site features two giant video screens, live music, sport demos, mini soccer pitch, food trucks and a beer garden.
Red Card Sports Bar + Eatery
In case the name didn’t give it away, this downtown Euro sports bar is kind of serious about soccer. And they make pretty good pizza too. With 16 HD TVs and two projector screens, your view won’t be sidelined.
Suika Snack Bar
Let’s not forget Japan. This quirky, sports-themed izakaya has been rooting for their team all month long. Sushi and soccer, it’s a perfect match.
Little Italy goes mad for World Cup. With more big-screen venues than any other street in the city, you simply have stroll up and down the Drive until you find a café, or sports bar with an empty seat. Caffe Roma Sports Bar, Portuguese Club of Vancouver and Rio Theatre are some of the more popular venues.
This cozy cantina is packed with die-hard soccer fans all year round. They don’t even switch over to hockey games during the NHL playoffs. Great food and drinks. Go for the meaty-cheesy-messy barrigon and michelada (beer Caesar).
After Party: 12 West
Owner Peter Girges has never met a professional sports team he couldn’t charm. This swanky Granville Street nightclub, home-away-from-home for many a visiting NHL player, is the official after-party venue for Team USA. (Team Canada partied in the VIP section after their final loss last weekend.) DJ Vice, a big American DJ who has worked with everyone from Rihanna to Capitol Cities, will be playing.
Featured image: FIFA Women’s World Cup’s Facebook page
Did we miss any of the best places to watch the FIFA Finals in Vancouver? Let Vv Magazine know in the comments below, or tweet us @ViewtheVibe.