Two months ago before a game, Penticton Pinnacles Football Club under-16 girls coach Derrick Webb wasn’t getting his players’ attention.
Webb took notice and asked, “Is anybody listening?” Then a couple girls said, “Oh, Oh” (referencing a Genesis song). Often before games Webb would give his pre-game talk, and again ask if anybody was listening and he’d get that same chorus.
There was little said by Webb prior to their provincial B cup championship match against North Coquitlam United Xtreme. However, South Okanagan Youth Soccer Association executive director/head coach Ezra Cremers did speak.
Cremers told them his under-21 boys lost 2-0 the day before and the difference was their desire to win. Cremers said if the girls play with desire they would win.
The girls clearly listened as they cruised to a 5-1 championship win against the Xtreme on Sunday in Kelowna. It was the Pinnacles FC’s lone gold medal victory, as the under-13, -14 and -17 boys all returned with bronze medals.
“It was a great experience for the girls,” said Webb. “Once we got that second goal, everyone was just relaxed. Not a lot of coaching going on.”
The Pinnacles opened the scoring on a play by Emily Jones, who went around the Xtreme goalkeeper and took a shot. The defender went down to make a play and stopped it with her hands. That resulted in a red card, being ejected and the Pinnacles scoring on the penalty kick. Two minutes later, the Pinnacles tallied their second goal. Webb said the Xtreme “kind of put their heads down and being down a player and being down two goals so early, it was very difficult for them.”
“It was unfortunate,” said Webb. “I think the game would have been tighter, a lot tougher had they been able to have 11 players.”
Webb added that the final result was fantastic as it was their goal all year to reach provincials. Once they did, their sights were set on a medal and they had golden ambition.
“For some of the girls it was awesome,” said Webb. “Most of these kids have been together since the gold program in u-11.”
“We were ecstatic, jumping around in the air, all over each other,” said Pinnacles FC captain McKenzie Ricard. “I was really proud of everyone. I haven’t seen us want to win a game so bad. First time in provincials and we won it, this is crazy.”
Playing the game the Pinnacles way earned the team an email from Cremers. Below is part of what Cremers wrote.
“Congratulations girls. You have worked so hard to raise your game and the feeling you received when the whistle blew to end the game is just one of many important feelings of accomplishments you will have for the rest of your life. You are the heartbeat of the club. Everything I personally wanted to see PFC become you have shown. Good footy, smiles, sportsmanship and success. Oh boy, the goose bumps are back.”
Each player will now get to enjoy a day with the championship trophy.
On the boys side, Joe Afonso, coach of the under-13 squad, said his players performed “awesome” in Aldergrove.
“The boys played exceptionally well,” said Afonso. “They all played with heart. I think they were amazed. Just to get to provincials. It was exciting for them. To come out with a medal, I had a lot of kids say this is the best season they ever had.”
The team went 2-1-0 during the round robin, then defeated the Saanich Fusion 4-1. The Surrey FC Ravens defeated the Sunshine Coast Scorpions 4-0 for gold. Afonso added that this will build confidence and character in the players to go through that. While Surrey FC defeated Langley United 5-0 to win gold at the U-14 level, the Pinnacles defeated the Kootenay South Big Horns 3-1 for bronze.
“They played spectacularly,” said coach Tony Trovao. “They moved the ball around and dominated possession. They put everything together. It was a great game.”
Trovao added they were a goal away from being in the final as they lost to Surrey FC 2-1. Still, Trovao watched his players be “beyond happy” with what they did.
“Just puts the cap to our season,” said Trovao, adding that they placed third in their league, then took down the top two teams during playoffs. “Just to be in the top three is quite amazing.”
The U-17 boys also earned a bronze medal. They defeated the Prince George Kodiaks 2-0.