Marco van Lochem, head of youth sports for Excelsior Rotterdam pro soccer team in Holland, returned to Penticton to work with Pinnacles FC Excelsior players last week. Van Lochem last visited Penticton in November of 2012 with general manager Ferry de Haan to sign a partnership between the clubs.
Western News sports editor Emanuel Sequeira sat down with van Lochem to talk about the camp held last week for players aged 11 to 18.
PWN– What were your impressions of what you saw during the week?
MVL– It was eight months ago that I was first here, and it’s growing. Maybe eight months ago I saw one or two players that were fairly interesting. Now I see six to 10 players who are fairly interesting for Canadian soccer or everywhere else.
PWN– How did you find they responded to your coaching?
MVL– It was so much better. They understand the exercises. I think it’s important that the coaches are doing their job and that the children love the exercises. They can improve during the games. You see the results today.
PWN– What did you want them to gain most from you working with them?
MVL– They need more speed in the sessions. After the pass, quick thinking. You see that it’s better and better. They are on the right path.
PWN– Sounds like you like the partnership between the clubs?
MVL– I think it’s a very good partnership. Now we must make next steps. Play better games against better opponents. Play more possession. Now the other team must find answers about possession the Pinnacles are playing.
PWN– Have more players come to Holland yet?
MVL– No. There will be two or three coming in October. The plan is next August 2014 there may be 10 to 20 that come. It’s an experience for life. The culture there is so nice for them. I think it’s an important trip for culture and also for soccer.
PWN– How good are the coaches?
MVL– The coaches must make the next steps now. The coaches must read the game better. That’s a huge step. That’s almost like Neil Armstrong landing on the moon. That’s the most important thing that the coaches are developing themselves.
PWN– Do you see the growth in the coaches?
MVL– I see they are growing. If the opponent now knows the answer about the way the Pinnacles play, then they must make new steps.
PWN– What do you think of the Pinnacles under-21 teams winning the Pacific Coast Soccer League Challege Cup championships?
MVL– I think it’s very important for the name of the club because then they see that nice soccer can also win tournaments. If you are developing kids, winning is not important, developing is important. If you can use both of them, developing with winning tournaments like this, I think you are on a good wagon.
PWN– What did your family think of Penticton?
MVL– I think it’s amazing here. If you see the weather, the people are nice. The beaches are beautiful. The water is so clean. We went on speed boats and go on a tube. It’s unbelievable. For my kids and for my wife, it’s important that the family is together.
PWN– What did your kids enjoy most of Penticton?
MVL-The tube. They love the tube and they love the beaches. They enjoyed the food and sight seeing.
PWN– Did you float the river channel?
MVL– Yes. That was nice.