Koch, a young veteran

Penticton Pinnacles Isaac Koch counted on to bring leadership to younger players

ENZO PAAL of the Penticton Pinnacles beats UBC Thunderbird Dallin Akune to the ball in Pacific Coast Soccer League Premier Men division action at Kings Park on June 4. The Thunderbirds won 4-1.

ENZO PAAL of the Penticton Pinnacles beats UBC Thunderbird Dallin Akune to the ball in Pacific Coast Soccer League Premier Men division action at Kings Park on June 4. The Thunderbirds won 4-1.

The Penticton Tim Hortons Pinnacles had reason to celebrate June 4 even though they lost 4-1 to the UBC Thunderbirds.

Isaac Koch chipped a shot over the head of Thunderbirds keeper Chad Bush to find the top corner. It was the Pinnacles’ first goal of the Pacific Coast Soccer League season, in their fourth match. He scored after whipping down the wing and spread his arms out in celebration and was joined by Simon Hartleif and Carlos Enriquez.

“I didn’t even know. You don’t even think about it in the moment,” said Koch when asked about his celebration. “You just kind of go for it.”

Isaac Koch

Koch has the confidence to make plays like that because of his previous experience in the PCSL Premier division and just completing his first season with the UVic Vikes.

“It was good. I came into the season expecting to maybe play a few games and after a few games I ended up starting for the rest of the season,” said Koch, who started nine of the 16 games he played scoring two goals and adding three assists. “It was a good season. It was a growing season. I feel pretty good about it. It’s definitely a confidence booster.”

Koch, a West Kelowna product, improved his ability to handle the ball. He talked about having the patience and confidence to take a touch and play the ball. Playing in the PCSL last year helped his adjustment to the Canadian Interuniversity Sport, where he helped the Vikes earn a silver medal in the Canada West final four.

“It would have been a huge jump. It took a few games, a few practices to get to that level,” said Koch. “The main difference is just the speed of game. The speed and strength of the players.”

While only 19, Koch sees himself as a leader. The Mt. Boucherie grad admits its weird at his age being considered a veteran. He is still growing into it. His Pinnacles coach Cesar Ceppi describes him as a team player with heart.

“He is amazing,” said Ceppi. “He trains hard. All the time he gives 100 per cent. He has more experience because he played at UVic. He brings a calming presence.”

Koch said last weekend’s loss was tough, but he and Ceppi agree the team is improving.

This weekend, the team travels to Nanaimo to take on second-place Mid-Island Mariners, who have two wins in four games, on Saturday.

On Sunday, they will be at Queen’s Park Stadium in New Westminster to play the Khalsa Sporting Club. In two games, Khalsa has a win.