Wynford Owen, CGA
Whitecaps Wyn Big With Owen
By Karen Murphy Corr
Wynford Owen may not work on offence or defense for the Vancouver Whitecaps FC, but as the soccer club’s accountant he has proven skills around the net—and the gross. He is an integral part of the team that needs steady leadership to achieve its fiscal goals as the Whitecaps grow in stature and popularity.
“One of the best parts of working with the Whitecaps FC is the great passion we share for the game, both the playing team and the back office staff,” says Wynford. “And the desire to bring world-class soccer to Vancouver.”
In early March 2009 the Whitecaps FC made the front page when they were named the Major Soccer League’s 17th team; the Vancouver MLS team will begin play in 2011 at BC Place Stadium in downtown Vancouver, which is to be renovated at an estimated cost of $365 million to add a 20,000-seat soccer configuration. Needless to say, the team is ecstatic to be promoted to the top soccer league in the continent and back where they belong. (Their 1979 North American Soccer League championship parade drew more than 100,000 Vancouverites to the streets, and is still the largest celebration in the city’s history.)
Additionally, the Whitecaps FC is the only professional Vancouver sports club to boast a top-level women’s team and the first North American soccer team to run a residency program to develop young soccer talent in the same way Europe’s professional clubs do. And in May 2009 the Whitecaps FC celebrates the 35th anniversary of its inaugural NASL match at the old Empire Stadium.
Wynford, who was born in Llanfairfechan, North Wales, has been an avid soccer fan all his life so his work for the Whitecaps challenges him professionally while it allows him to indulge his love of the game every day. His early footie idols were Liverpool FC but he switched loyalties—which is nearly unheard of among diehard UK soccer fans— to Leeds United when he lived there during his time studying mathematics at the University of Leeds in Yorkshire. But he admits wryly that his accounting skills far surpass his own soccer playing ability.
“Being Welsh, I only ever played rugby. Staff here are still joking about my soccer skills.”
Wynford worked in the software industry in London, England from 1970 to 1978 and moved to Vancouver in 1980 to work in the hospitality industry.
“I originally started out in software, but rubbed shoulders with accountants often. I took some early economics courses and found myself in the CGA program.”
The flexibility of the CGA program appealed to Owen, who worked at CAE Engineering immediately prior to graduation. He joined the Vancouver Playhouse Theatre Company in 1992 as Director of Finance and more recently took on the role of accountant for the Whitecaps FC.
Wynford says his career opportunities as a CGA have been very rewarding: “I’ve been lucky to work for two organizations that hold a passion for their respective disciplines – theatre and sports.”
The CGA coursework, he says, prepared him well for his professional career in accounting, and he enjoys attending the CGA Computer Users Group to keep up-to-date on technical improvements.
“I have always felt the program was relevant to issues one faced in the workplace,” says Wynford. “Qualified professionals have an advantage in most businesses because success and failure and most key decisions are often measured in economic terms.”
He describes his current role with the Whitecaps FC is very interesting and varied, with exciting new challenges and one fantastic perk:
“I have the opportunity to see great soccer played throughout the summer.”