Canadian soccer legend Bruce Wilson liked what he saw at the senior girls soccer AA provincial championship held at King’s Park May 29-31.
“The talent that is here, I think in some respects, need a couple more years of developing, but there’s some very good players,” said Wilson, who won a North American Soccer League championship with the New York Cosmos in 1980. “No question about it.”
Wilson, coach of the UVic Vike’s men’s soccer team for 26 years, was helping his wife, Tracy David, coach of the Vike’s women’s team, scout players. David couldn’t attend the AA championship as she was scouting the AAA tournament in the Lower Mainland.
Wilson was also scouting for his team and held an informational meeting with parents and players leading up to the provincial championship.
Wilson said it’s difficult trying to explain that the competition level at university level is high.
“When pre-season starts, it’s very competitive,” said Wilson, whose Vikes men’s team only had four players graduate. “To actually crack our team, is very difficult.”
For players close to making the Vikes, they train with the team wearing red shirts, but play with another club to continue developing.
Wilson said hopefully they develop enough to play the next season.
When asked about the talent on the Mustangs team, which won the provincial tournament under the guidance of co-coach John Buckley, a former UVic Vike, Wilson only said they are identifying players.
He added it’s difficult to know how a player will do until they show up for camp. Although he didn’t feel it would be fair to name players, Wilson did talk about Pinnacles FC product Xavier Araujo.
“He’s proving to be an excellent candidate for making our team,” said Wilson of Araujo, who has trained with Excelsior Rotterdam’s youth academy team in Holland. “A very skillful kid, a very smart kid.”
While Wilson was impressed with the talent on display in Penticton, he also praised the facilities.
“The people of Penticton work so hard to have such a first-class facility,” said Wilson.
He also liked the Adidas SportsPlex, but suggested Pinnacles FC add a turf field for training purposes.
“It would also save the game fields for less training and more games,” he said.
Along with coaching the Vikes for 26 years, Wilson’s resume includes playing professionally for 13 years and captaining Canada’s only entry in the World Cup in 1986.
When asked which team he thinks will win the upcoming World Cup in Brazil, Wilson said a South American team.
“Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, or possibly Chile,” he said. “It is going to be good.”