Soccer’s golden age coming out of hiding

Manuel Borba did some homework on soccer players aged eight to 12 and made a discovery.

Manuel Borba did some homework on soccer players aged eight to 12 and made a discovery.

Kids in that age group are missing out on key development years as some communities in North America only have high-level programs for kids aged 11 and 12.

“All the research that is coming out of Europe and B.C. Soccer put out last year is that the golden age to learn skill development is 9 to 12-years-old for boys and eight to 11 for girls,” he said during a recent interview. “I started a program for nine-year-olds and train them properly.”

Under Borba, the players do repetitions of passing, ball control, trapping and shooting, known as deliver training.

While at a tournament in Wenatchee, Wash., Borba spoke with soccer people there and learned that they don’t have programs for that age group either. The South Okanagan Youth Soccer Association is guilty of it as well as their gold program doesn’t begin until kids are 11, and it’s age 12 for district teams.

“It’s a standard thing across Canada,” he said. “When the golden age is 9 to 12, and we’re starting gold programs at 11, you have actually lost the first two years of that window.”

Lester Patrick, whose son Matthew plays on the team, said it’s an outstanding program for the kids.

“It gives them the chance to learn, develop and put into practice fundamental soccer skills at a young age,” said Patrick. “In addition, the program allows them to play in tournaments against children older and more experienced than them. This is terrific for their self-confidence and it motivates them to work harder and improve their game.”

During the Peach Classic soccer tournament Aug. 12 to 14, the Pinnacles lost by large scores, but they had two close games against Surrey. Borba talked about an intimidation factor his players felt, but once they began playing it vanished. Prior to kickoff against Surrey, Borba gathered his troops and had to make sure his players were clear they were playing a strong opponent, one which possessed a height and strength advantage. Borba’s group, wearing grey jerseys with Winners sponsor on the front, were convinced they could win. They were ready to attack.

While the Pinnacles spent most of the opening half in their zone, they managed to hold their own and earned a 2-2 draw.

Joe Afonso, whose son Austin is on the team, feels Borba has done wonders with the players.

“One of the most important things is the kids do respect him,” said Afonso. “That’s hard as a coach so I think he has done a wonderful job that way. He’s got a lot of experience throughout the years as well. He can pass it on to all those kids.”

Every once in a while Borba has to tell his players to stay focused. Being kids, the attention can be drawn away by the smallest thing. What Borba does well is explain things to his players without losing composure. When Borba sees fit, he gives his direction in regards to what his players should do with the ball.

The main thing with Borba that is impressive is that he doesn’t get down about results. In speaking to him, I never heard him say that it was important to win one of their matches during the Peach Classic. His focus is strictly on his players learning how to play the game smart and having fun.

“I thought technically some of our players were even better than some of these older players and I’m only working with them for four months,” said Borba. “At this age those four months, they just improve by leaps and bounds. It’s unbelievable.”

Emanuel Sequeira is the sports editor of the Penticton Western News.



Just Posted

This parking on the east side of Martin Street will be removed permanently Monday morning (June 21, 2021) to put in the Lake to Lake bike lane. (City of Penticton)
Parking removed permanently to make way for bike lane in downtown Penticton

Work begins Monday morning to replace parking spots with bike lane on Martin Street

Jaimee Peters photo of a Willow Midwives helping with a birth. Willow closed its doors March 31 because of a shortage of midwives. (Contributed)
South Okanagan’s only midwifery to re-open this summer

Willow Community Midwives was forced to close because of a shortage of midwives

Gord Portman getting ready for the Father’s Day dunk tank fundraiser for Discovery House. So far Portman has raised $3,000. (Facebook)
Penticton man takes the plunge for recovery house that helped save his life

Gord Portman said Discovery House and Pathways have been everything in his 1 year sobriety

(File photo)
Supreme Court Justice rules Bay has to pay Penticton’s Cherry Lane mall

The ruling found that there had been no unavoidable delay preventing the Bay from paying their rent

Summerland cidery Millionaires' Row is hosting a Father's Day car and art show. (Facebook)
Vintage cars, art and cider for Father’s Day

Summerland’s Millionaires’ Row Cider Co. is hosting the car and art show

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

FILE – Most lanes remain closed at the Peace Arch border crossing into the U.S. from Canada, where the shared border has been closed for nonessential travel in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Thursday, May 7, 2020, in Blaine, Wash. The restrictions at the border took effect March 21, while allowing trade and other travel deemed essential to continue. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Feds to issue update on border measures for fully vaccinated Canadians, permanent residents

Border with U.S. to remain closed to most until at least July 21

A portion of the George Road wildfire burns near Lytton, B.C. in this Friday, June 18, 2021 handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, BC Wildfire Service *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Blaze near Lytton spread across steep terrain, says BC Wildfire Service

Fire began Wednesday and is suspected to be human-caused, but remains under investigation

Blair Lebsack, owner of RGE RD restaurant, poses for a portrait in the dining room, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. Canadian restaurants are having to find ways to deal with the rising cost of food. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Canadian restaurateurs grapple with rising food costs, menu prices expected to rise

Restaurants are a low margin industry, so there’s not a lot of room to work in additional costs

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Fort St. John man arrested after allegedly inviting sexual touching from children

Two children reported the incident to a trusted adult right away

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed Eli Beauregard facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

Most Read