The pain from last season is still fresh for Wyatt Seddon-Johnstone, the Penticton Tim Hortons Pinnacles captain.
Winless in 10 Pacific Coast Soccer League (PCSL) games, the Pinnacles scored just five goals while surrendering 42.
“Some of the guys who are here today weren’t here last season, I have reminded them about how terribly last season went,” said Seddon-Johnstone. “I think we’re all together collectively to try to right that.”
The process started by winning the mens A final during the Pacific Western Brewing May Long Classic Tournament. The Pinnacles snapped the back-to-back title streak of the Vancouver Legends with a 3-0 win on Monday. Nico Kahl fired home the winner a minute into the game. The win capped a perfect tournament (4-0) for the Pinnacles, who will open a new PCSL season Sunday at Kings Park at noon.
“The team played well. We have had about four or five training sessions,” said Pinnacles coach Ezra Cremers. “There are some new faces, some young faces. A lot of good players that have played together for four or five years. That mix of old, young and very skilled, this was a good tournament for us as a pre-season.”
Cremers replaced coach Cesar Ceppi, who moved to Spain after last season to study at the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA), which led to him working in Dubai for the newly established AS Roma Academy, according to goalWA.net.
The main key on the weekend the Pinnacles focused on was their play in defending and attacking.
“We want to have a lot of chances. I felt there was learning moments throughout the weekend,” said Cremers.
The Pinnacles opened with a 5-1 win over the POCO Royals from Coquitlam, then crushed the Williams Lake Lightning 7-1 before finishing up with a 4-0 victory over West Coast FC from Richmond.
The Pinnacles goal is to be competitive in their third season in the Premier division.
“That’s really what we are at right now,” said Cremers.
Cremers and Seddon-Johnstone believe this season will be different for a few reasons.
“We have some very good players,” said Cremers, adding that with Kamloops not having a squad this year, they have added players from that squad.
Enzo Paal is back along with Isaac Koch. Among the newcomers are James Fraser, Jordell Afonso, Brett Depner and Cole Kingzett, who has played for the Pinnacles before. Seddon-Johnstone said the energy of the guys will be a factor and added they have a great mix of veteran and young players.
The Pinnacles treated the weekend tournament as a preseason warm up. The Pinnacles captain liked that they did a lot of the tactical things Cremers wants to see. Seddon-Johnstone also believes the players who returned from university programs will push others for playing time.
As for the other results in the Pacific Western Brewing May Long Classic Tournament, the Pinnacles women’s team defeated the Hat-Tricks 2-0 to win the women’s side, while the Women’s B Final was won by Calgary’s Tsunami Blues 2-0 over TCOB Vancouver. The Star Boys defeated the POCO Royals 1-0 to take the Men’s B Final.
Penticton Soccer Club president Dale Anderson said the weekend went great. He got a lot of positive feedback about how great the field conditions were.
“People said the quality of soccer they watched was the highest in 10 years,” he said.
The tournament featured 19 teams. Of the 10 men’s teams, six were of Division 1 quality, while the same number of the women’s teams were also of that caliber.
For next year, Anderson’s goal is to attract more high end teams. He would like to see the caliber of soccer improve each year. Anderson also praised the efforts of his volunteers, who played a big part in the tournament running smoothly.