Young Pinnacles gain experience

Penticton’s under-10 Pinnacles are a unique group.

Penticton under-10 Pinnacles gave Surrey a run for their money twice

Penticton under-10 Pinnacles gave Surrey a run for their money twice

Penticton’s under-10 Pinnacles are a unique group.

They are the youngest to play in the Peach City Classic, which just had its 15th edition wrap up Sunday.

Results were not terribly in their favour in two games as they lost 5-1 to Penticton and 4-0 to Kelowna in the under-11 division. They had better results against Surrey, tying 2-2 and losing 1-0.

Coach Manuel Borba put his group in the tournament because, through research he has done, kids aged nine and 10 aren’t being developed technically. He stated most programs in North America are geared towards 11 and 12 year olds.

“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,  eight to 11 for girls,” he said. “I started a program for nine-year-olds and train them properly, repetitive training. It’s called deliver training. We just do repetitions of passing, ball control, trapping and shooting.”

During their first match against Surrey early Saturday afternoon, the Pinnacles were not being overmatched, but spent a chunk of time in their zone for much of the opening half. When needed, Borba would provide instructions to his players on where to position themselves to receive or pass the ball. When the Pinnacles did get in the offensive zone, they generated chances. The young Pinnacles also benefitted on a call from the official, who gave them a penalty kick allowing them to tie the game 1-1.

While kids have learned a lot under Borba during practice, he is also getting them into tournaments as he said the players will lose interest if they only practice. The team competed in Wenatchee, Washington, and earned a 3-2 win against competition a year older while losing their other match by the same score. Borba spoke to the people there about their development and learned that nothing is done there either for that age group.

“On the tournament here, we tried to organize an under-10 tournament and nobody put their teams in,” said Borba. “You either sit and watch or get them with the bigger boys.”

The Pinnacles enjoyed playing in the tournament despite having a hard time with the height of players. Borba said it was a good learning experience.

Talking about the development programs, Borba, a former Pinnacles under-21 men’s coach, pointed out that the South Okanagan Youth Soccer Associations Gold program doesn’t begin until kids are 11. 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.”

His main concern during the Peach City Classic was his players getting hurt, which didn’t happen. He wanted to see them work hard and try to play some quality soccer.

“We were very competitive with them (Surrey),” said Borba. “You could see that the boys, once they got past the intimidation factor, they could play. That’s what I wanted to see. For their confidence, it was just a huge boost. Physically they were behind the boys but technically they weren’t. 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. At this age those four months, they just improve by leaps and bounds. It’s unbelievable.”

What Borba would like to see going forward with SOYSA is when they have tournaments is including an under-10 division.

Steve Coates, administrator for SOYSA, said the tournament had strong support from Surrey and Edmonton teams.

“The tournament brought at least 1,500 visitors to Penticton for the weekend and generated an estimated $1.2 Million in economic activity.”

Full results from the tournament are as follows:

2000 Boys

1st – Okanagan Fusion(Kelowna)

2nd – Penticton Pinnacles


1999 Boys

1st – Surrey Ravens

2nd – Surrey Pegasus


1998 Boys

1st – Canadian Rocks(Surrey)

2nd – South West United Edmonton


1997 Boys

1st – EIYSA Victoria(Edmonton)

2nd – Surrey United Guildford Scorpions


1995 Boys

1st – Chilliwack FC

2nd – Penticton Pinnacles


1994 Boys

Champions            Abbotsford Mariners


1999 Girls

1st – Sherwood Park Phoenix

2nd – Penticton Pinnacles


1998 Girls

1st – Semi-Rock

2nd – Penticton Pinnacles


1997 Girls

1st – Red Deer Renegades

2nd – Penticton Pinnacles


1996 Girls

1st – Prince George Kodiaks

2nd – North Shore Dynamite


1995 Girls

1st – Campionesse FC

2nd– North Shore


1994 Girls

1st Place – Penticton Pinnacles

2nd Place – Kensington-Little Mountain Vancouver