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EA Sports inks deal with new Vancouver MLS team

FIFA publisher becomes founding partner of Whitecaps FC for its inaugural season

EA Sports has announced a deal with new Major League Soccer team Whitecaps FC, based in Vancouver, to become a founding partner and official videogame partner for the club.

The deal will see the FIFA franchise marketed through Whitecaps channels, while the team and its stadium will be available in FIFA Soccer 12, set for a likely release in October 2011.

The FIFA team will also have access to the team's players for motion-capture sessions, and both organisations will work together to create a youth development programme aimed at supporting the growth of the sport, both locally and nationally.

"We're thrilled to join Whitecaps FC as a founding partner, as they enter into their inaugural season in MLS," said EA Sports VP and GM of Soccer, Matt Bilbey. "EA Sports has a long history of supporting soccer clubs internationally, and with the success of MLS, it's the perfect time to bring this support to North America at the club level.

"British Columbia has been home to the FIFA Soccer franchise for 18 years, and now more than 1200 EA employees at our Burnaby studio, so we pledge our support to work with Whitecaps FC to develop soccer here in the province and inspire the youth that play this game."

And Paul Barber, CEO of Whitecaps FC, added: "Through innovative and interactive technology, EA SPORTS will bring football fans closer to the game than ever before. We are very pleased to welcome a global company with local roots on board - especially one of EA's calibre - and we look forward to working together to build excitement for the launch of Major League Soccer in Vancouver."

Whitecaps FC is one of two new franchises set to join MLS for the 2011 season, along with Portland Timbers, while Montreal Impact will be added to the roster of teams in 2012.