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Young soccer star off to Holland

A 14-year-old Penticton soccer player has been chosen to attend Dutch camp
Penticton Pinnacles FC 15U boys forward Connor Moore (right) goes up for a header against an opponent in an earlier playoff match. The young player has been chosen to go to Holland next month for a special camp. Mark Brett/Western News

A Penticton teen soccer prodigy is off to Holland next month for a taste of the big leagues.

Connor Moore, a member of the Penticton Pinnacles FC U15 boys, will attend a 10-day camp through the club’s partnership with the Dutch first division professional team Excelsior Rotterdam.

Moore is younger than most who get such an invite. However, according to Pinnacles Excelsior Academy staff coach Yann Calmets, the honour is well deserved.

“Connor is only 14 years old but his technical abilities and practical understanding of the game and the physical aspect are very, very good,” said Calmets, originally from France. He joined the club in 2017 and has a National A Licence Part 1 which is one of the highest levels of certification for youth soccer in Canada. “It’s because of that he can be exposed to the older players with more speed, because that is important for him.

“It’s like everything in life, if you do something that is too easy for you, you can’t improve yourself and for a player like Connor he needs to have that exposure.”

The coach believes it was Moore’s understanding of the overall picture of the sport on the field that caught the eyes of the visiting Excelsior coaches who ran a couple of his Pinnacles FC U15 boys team practices in the spring that were part scouting mission.

“Connor has the facilities to recognize where to go when he’s off the ball and making the right decisions at the right moment,” said Calmets. “Soccer is only time and space so if you can observe around yourself where is the best solution to help your partner you can win the time. If you can win the time, you can win the space and Connor can do that.

“With him playing with the older ones you want to improve yourself and show that you can be here and how to be a team leader. Now is a good time for him to understand what his responsibilities are.”

The camp will also include some coaching of younger players, something he is already doing in Penticton.

“Going on the other side (coaching) trying to help the younger players helps with the human being you are and helps with the soccer player you are,” said Calmets.

Moore’s current coach Steve Grant described his young player as: “A left-footed hard worker and I’ve coached him on and off the last few years and he’s one of our top scorers.

“He’s an honour roll student, he’ll show up for extra practices with the older kids. Soccer is his love and I’m sure like most kids he would like to play at the professional level but for him, at least at the post-secondary level and he has the potential to do that.”

Moore is also one of four members of the team, currently competing at the Youth Provincial Championships, who will be representing the district at the B.C. Summer Games in Cowichan later this month.

About his upcoming trip to Rotterdam, Moore admitted he is just a little nervous.

“But I’m really excited because I get to see how I’m doing against players from other countries,” he said. “It’s going to be a lot faster pace and a lot harder but I’m going to see how I should be playing, it’s extremely important.”

He added with a laugh: “It’s a good thing (going to Holland) because when I come back the other players on my team are maybe going to have to step it up to keep up.”

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