Heart and work ethic is what the Penticton Tim Hortons under-21 Pinnacles will be about.
Those are two factors that new coach Tony Munoz wants as he pushes his players to play the game the way Spaniards do, short crisp passes with strong possession.
Munoz, who coached the Pinnacles under-18 team last season, began emphasizing that during his first day of tryouts at King’s Park on Sunday.
“I think we are ready for a change,” said Munoz, who replaces Chris Bennett, who will be returning to the Lower Mainland in June. “I think the kids and the fans need that.”
The opening tryout had 12 players out and another five minimum are expected from last year’s squad. Munoz liked the calibre of young talent on hand and feels there was a good nucleus of local kids from the under-21 group.
Pinnacles manager Barry Hubber was equally impressed by the numbers they had out.
“I didn’t think we’d get that many out,” said Hubber. “It’s looking pretty positive. I was quite happy because of all the guys that are still away at school.”
In finding players that possess what Munoz wants, the former Simon Fraser University player feels he can teach the tactical and technical aspects. What will work to Munoz’s benefit is that players have vowed to work in learning what he wants.
When the Pinnacles hit the pitch at King’s Park for opening day on May 7 against Chilliwack FC, Munoz wants to give something different and unique. Munoz wants his players to play in a way that will make the community proud and for the team to be taken serious. He added the players need to have fun by winning, they need to have fun by developing and they need to have fun by being known and appreciated as good soccer players.
Munoz feels that he can benefit the team for two reasons. Coming in from the under-18 team, players he coached on that team are trying to earn a spot with this club. Their familiarity with what Munoz wants helps them know what to expect from him. He also feels he knows how to deal with kids.
“I’m a foster parent,” said Munoz, 53. “I know what it takes to deal with kids. I believe in teaching them by example. Show them how to do things. I am still fit enough to show. That is my style.”
Munoz began coaching because he wants to give back to the sport that gave him a lifestyle. He wants to share that with his players.
Two people who have made an impact on Munoz with coaching is his former SFU coach John Buchanan, and his late father, Sebastian.
“He opened my eyes to what soccer could do,” said Munoz of Buchanan. “Use soccer as a medium to get that education. It was a good time in my life. A coach that was important. My father taught me everything.”