Sports

Pinnacles' Randy Hubber a spark plug for team

Penticton Tim Hortons Pinnacles’ Randy Hubber has impressed coach/teammate Wyatt Seddon-Johnstone this season.

Seddon-Johnstone said Hubber is on the Pinnacles roster to provide offence, but gives much more.

“He has the ability to act as a spark plug in our team,” said Seddon-Johnstone. “Get everyone else around him fired up. That’s what he’s been doing.”

Hubber felt that way two weekends ago when he scored against the Victoria Highlanders FC to give his club a 1-0 lead in a Pacific Coast Soccer League Reserve Division game on June 14. Hubber lobbed a shot on goal that bounced off the far right post, hit a defender and crossed the line.

“I was a little surprised myself to see it go in,” said Hubber.

He celebrated with a long scream, running to mid-field. He enjoys a good celebration, but it depends on the time and place.

Normally a slow starter, that hasn’t been the case this season as Hubber has six goals in seven games. Against West Vancouver FC, a 3-1 Pinnacles win on Saturday, Hubber opened the scoring on a penalty kick.

When asked about his success, credit automatically is given to his teammates.

“I have great players around me to make me look better,” said Hubber, an outside left midfielder.

The speedy, aggressive forward is driven to continue his 2013 MVP performance, which helped the Pinnacles win the Challenge Cup, into this season.

“This year we have a really young squad. I’m one of the older boys,” said Hubber, 23, who strives to lead by example.

Hubber laughed about his age as he referred to himself as older and admitted it feels weird.

“A lot of our players are 17 and 18, quite an age gap,” he said.

Yet it’s his teammates who motivate him. He watches the players put in time and effort to succeed and wants to top that. He looks up to Seddon-Johnstone, who split time with Hartwick College Hawks in New York and the Seattle Pacific University Falcons.

“It’s just his dedication and heart for games,” explained Hubber. “I have always looked up to him. Even as a young kid.”

To get ready for the season, Hubber trained in the Pinnacles FC’s Excelsior program, which helped him stay in shape while getting touches on the ball. Hubber also relies on his landscaping job to keep him conditioned. With five games remaining in the regular season schedule, Hubber’s only goal is to help the Pinnacles defend their Challenge Cup.

“I’d really like to hoist the trophy again in front of the home fans,” he said, adding the Pinnacles have the players to do it.

Hubber knows they are young, but the group battles and “never gives up.”

On Saturday, the Pinnacles improved to 4-2-1 with the victory against West Vancouver FC. Along with Hubbers goal, Noah Eaton struck 15 minutes into the second half, then Cole Kingzett with 15 minutes remaining. Seddon-Johnstone said it was a well played game for his squad. They started strong and won battles.

"The best part of it was getting Cole Kingzett a goal," he said. "Cole hasn't scored of late. Hopefully he can keep doing it."

Seddon-Johnstone had seen some frustration from his midfielder, who has been in position to score, but has been stymied by goalkeepers. Seddon-Johnstone took Kingzett aside and told him to focus on doing things that create goals, to change his mindset a bit.

"He's so good, quick and skillful," said Seddon-Johnstone. "Him scoring will be a huge asset moving forward."

 

 

 

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