Teams are vying for provincial berths in the Thompson Okanagan Youth Soccer League play downs at Kings Park this weekend.
The Pinnacles FC female squads have automatic bye’s as they host the B.C. Soccer Provincial B Cup from July 7-10.
One team with a strong chance for success is the under-18s coached by Ray Hintz.
“I’m happy where we are. We got a lot of work to do yet,” said Hintz, who plans to work on all aspects of their game. “We just got to start tightening up a little bit.”
The strengths of Hintz’s team is on defence, which he always focuses on, but they also have weapons to score.
“This team has some good attackers,” said Hintz of Jasper Pankratz, Britney Young, Savanna and Sierra Yamamoto and Celine Francisco. “I’m hoping that will pull us through.”
One thing that makes the team stronger is its ability to move into different positions. Ezra Cremers, head coach of the Pinnacles FC program, said they are favourites this weekend.
Hintz also coaches the U14 girls, who he said have played well the last couple weeks earning two wins on the weekend. They finished with four wins in 12 games. Hintz said the group plays hard for themselves.
“They work so hard in practice,” he said. “It’s been a tough year because they have lost a lot of games 1-0 or by two. I’m hoping they go somewhere in the playoffs. They have improved so much. They deserve to be there.”
OWEN MCRANN of the Penticton Pinnacles FC under-14 boys No.2 team chases the ball out of bounds with Ty Haywood-Farmer of the Kamloops Blaze. The Pinnacles lost 10-0.
The U18 boys, coached by Cremers, face a more difficult semifinal match against Vernon United instead of Shuswap because they didn’t finish first. Cremers squad started the season with six wins then earned a tie with Kamloops, who declared A and won’t be here. At the halfway mark of the season, Cremers was faced with the challenge of not having many of his starters. They got the call to the Pinnacles mens team in the Pacific Coast Soccer League. They finished the season with seven wins, two draws and three losses.
“Our boys are at that level where I expect them to win no matter what and play good football,” said Cremers, whose team is comprised of one third 1998-born players and have added another. “We’re confident.”
Cremers feels a few teams can advance to provincials. The U15 boys, coached by Manuel Borba and Pinnacles mens coach Cesar Ceppi, have advanced the last two years under Borba. Cremers said Borba’s team is peaking right now and there is optimism they will advance. The U14 side can also if they are firing on all cylinders. Cremers said he “wouldn’t call them a favourite” but they are improving.
Despite the advanced berth to provincials for the girls, Cremers said they want to earn their way there.
“It’s all about your team firing at the right moment and peaking towards provincials,” he said.
Playdowns begins at 5 p.m. on Friday. The Pinnacles FC U15 boys play Vernon at 5 p.m. at Kings Park 2, the U14 girls play Vernon on Kings Park 1 at 7 p.m., the U15 girls face Vernon on Kings Park 2 at 7 p.m. The remaining schedule can be seen at www.toysl.net/