Pinnacles FC could become a goal keepers factory after hiring Tom Gill.
With Pat van Ryswyk already in the fold, Pinnacles FC head coach Ezra Cremers almost couldn’t contain his excitement because of their newest addition.
“I’m absolutely thrilled,” said Cremers. “The keepers get high-level training between the two of them. I can see keepers come out of this town in the next few years.”
The timing of Gill’s return couldn’t have been better as Cremers said they were looking to fly someone in from Vancouver to assist van Ryswyk.
Gill isn’t new to Pinnacles FC as he did work with their keepers three years ago before going back to Scotland. Cremers said the keepers liked him and because they are growing their programs with more and more keepers training, van Ryswyk just isn’t able to give them the attention they need.
Gill approached Cremers in the summer and informed him that he was returning. While Cremers said he didn’t know anything about him, Gill gladly spilled his resume, which includes playing for Ayr United in Scotland’s first division for four years. After that, he moved on to play junior football for three semi-pro teams for over 10 years. He also made 25 appearances for Scotland. Before coming to Canada, Gill coached pro youth keepers at Ayr United FC from under-11 to 19.
Gill said he is enjoying himself since rejoining the soccer association. He has been surprised with the level of the goal keepers considering he has trained pro youth players in Scotland.
“Some of the top-end goal keepers in the academy are pretty good,” he said. “Just need to work on a few different things to take them to the next level.”
Gill has also been impressed with their work ethic.
“They understand what we’re trying to do,” said Gill, who gets enjoyment from the players progressing. “Some drills are new to them. They are very keen to learn.”
After putting Gill in to work with the keepers, Cremers has instantly seen the coach’s worth.
“You can have the tactical and technical ability of training players, but the passion and accountability that he holds the players (too), the keepers are getting better,” said Cremers. “Pat needed an extra hand. We had too many keepers to the ratio of keeper/coach. The kids see his passion. He just wants to see kids become better players and better people because of it. That’s a good feeling for a keeper.”
King’s Park will be busy during Easter weekend as Pinnacles FC hosts the Spring Cup, which will feature 24 to 30 teams, including clubs from the coast and Calgary. Cremers described it as an ice breaker to the season. The same tournament will take place the following weekend, April 6 and 7 for club teams. Cremers said this will give the club program more value by adding the tournament.
“It’s a way to evaluate our teams in case there is a huge imbalance,” said Cremers.
Teams will play a minimum 15 games for the season, which they see helping to build that club league from under-11 to 18. It’s an area within Pinnacles FC that Cremers will be giving special attention to.
Training camp evaluations are being done in what Cremers calls “a transition year.”
“In the future there will be no such thing as tryouts,” said Cremers. “It will be ongoing evaluations where we just pick teams based on their ability and interest level. B.C. Soccer, our governing body, has taken out tryouts because it’s too stressful physically and mentally for the players.”
Players will be chosen based on their past training. Instead of a tryout in early March, it will be like a training camp where the coach comes in and they get their squad for two weeks before spring break. The players will have four to five sessions with their coach.
Cremers, who will be a player/assistant coach for the men’s team, is excited about a new season. On April 5, Pinnacles FC will announce the roster for the men’s and women’s teams.
“The team is looking much different, in my mind, much better than last year,” said Cremers. “As a player on the team, we have been training extremely hard and I really look forward to playing. With the girls, (coach) Ray Hintz is just as excited.” New jerseys will also be unveiled.