Meet Don Andrews, the booming voice of the Vancouver Whitecaps

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      Not many people can say they’ve had 20,000 sports fans yell “You’re welcome!” at them. But Don Andrews can.

      If you’ve been to an at-home Vancouver Whitecaps FC game any time over the last nine years, you’ve definitely heard his voice. It’s the one that booms over the speakers to introduce the starting lineups, to announce mid-game player substitutes, and to rile the crowd up when our beloved home team scores a goal.

      It’s become something of a sacred ritual. When a player on the Whitecaps scores on home turf at BC Place, Andrews takes to the microphone and says something along the lines of: “Vancouver Whitecaps FC goal, number 25, Ryan…” and then the crowd yells back his last name: “Gauld!”

      And again: “Ryannnn!” Andrews yells.

      “Gauld!” the fans screech back.

      And a third time: “Rrrrryyyyaannnnn!” he bellows.


      And finally, the kicker: “Thank you!” Andrews says.

      To which the crowd, ever polite, ever Canadian, ever in on the joke, responds in unison: “You’re welcome!”

      This charming call and response has been happening since Andrews took up the job of PA announcer for the Whitecaps nearly a decade ago. The very first time he did it, he says, he got goosebumps.

      “It’s pretty intense when you really feel it, because there’s such a buildup that goes along with a goal,” he says via phone. “We usually do the player’s name a few times, and then we get the courtesy. And by the time we get to that, they’re ready to explode, they’re ready to rip the roof off of BC Place. It’s unbelievable. I can’t even really describe how amazing the feeling is.”

      Hearing Andrews’ voice come through the phone line is almost otherworldly. Some might have guessed (hello!) that he changes his tone when he’s on the job to really make it roar across the stadium, but turns out that’s just how he sounds. Even when he’s talking about his ongoing home renovations or his childhood in New Westminster, his voice is deep, crisp, clear, booming—not intimidating, but certainly commanding. It’s like he’s got a built-in microphone inside his windpipe.

      Andrews was 16 years old when his voice dropped. Almost instantly, people told him he should pursue a career in radio.

      “You’re at this stage in your life where you’re young and you’re fairly impressionable, and you don’t really know what you’re supposed to be doing,” he recalls. “I knew that I had an okay voice, but it was really weird. I was 16 years old, and everything just started to change and everything started to sound different.”

      Still, he didn’t immediately heed everyone’s advice. His twenties were spent doing a series of odd jobs, from painting commercial high-rises to working security for a casino. Everything changed when, in his thirties, he noticed the now-closed Columbia Academy broadcasting school near his Broadway and Granville apartment. After just a short interview, he landed a full scholarship.

      “I loved it instantly,” he says of the program. “It was an automatic plug-and-play for me.”

      Andrews started his professional announcing career with the Vancouver Canadians. He’s also done stints for the BC Lions, the Vancouver Giants, the Vancouver Canucks, and the Rugby 7s, and he’s a ring announcer for mixed martial arts, Muay Thai, boxing, and kickboxing events.

      Andrews fell in love with sports from a young age, playing everything from rugby, football, and hockey to baseball, basketball, and soccer. It’s a deep passion that has never faded.

      “I don’t think I’ll ever lose the excitement level for sports. Sports provide so much for us,” he says. “By going to the game and experiencing it and being a part of it and screaming with their friends and being there for the celebration—the good or the bad—that fantasy is what people really love. And it’s not lost on me. I still go and I’m like, ‘What could possibly happen today?’ Because no game is ever the same as the last one. No two games will ever be the same. The outcome’s never going to be the same. That level of excitement still really drives me so much.”

      Andrews’ omnipresence at Whitecaps games has become such an important part of the experience in and of itself that those who meet him feel a certain level of excitement, too—even the players.

      “I’m upstairs in the media room [during games], so I’m separated from the majority of the people,” he explains. “I have taken the opportunity over the last little while to start to introduce myself more to the players. A couple of the guys I ran into the day before yesterday, they were like, ‘Oh my god, how cool is it to put a face to the voice?’ It was a really neat little connection for me to have a couple of players stop and go, ‘You’re the guy? You’re the guy!’ Like, ‘Yeah! I’m the guy!’ I still don’t believe I get to be the guy.”

      He says it again—one more time with feeling. Repetition is in his DNA at this point.

      “I still. Don’t. Believe. I get. To be. The guy.”

      The Vancouver Whitecaps are currently celebrating their 50th season. Find out more here.