The sweet taste of gold had a definite Penticton Pinnacles FC flavour to it for the Zone 2 (Thompson Okanagan) boys soccer team at last week’s B.C. Summer Games.
Three members of the gold medal winning team, Marc Peron (Keremeos), Connor Moore (Penticton) and Brett Gautschi (West Kelowna) all play for the Pinnacles boys teams in the Thompson Okanagan Youth Soccer League (TOYSL).
The only gold won by Zone 2 athletes was particularly satisfying for the trio after their Pinnacles lost a one-goal, extra time heartbreaker to Wesburn (West Burnaby) in the provincial championship game earlier in the month.
The club lost its first three games of the regular season but rebounded with seven straight victories and went on to win the TOYSL playdowns at home.
“That was pretty much the highlight of the year,” said Moore, 15, about winning the gold medal. “It was an amazing experience, I mean playing a higher calibre of soccer was great, the volunteers and everyone down there treated us really great and it was great that we finished first.”
After finishing with a three-win, one-tie record in the preliminary round, the team earned the right to meet Fraser River (Zone 4) in the championship game.
Thompson Okanagan trailed 1-0 after the first half in a match match Moore described as “really tense” but things changed in the final frame.
The Penticton player was actually the one who scored the tying goal.
“The ball went out for a throw. Our left back, Alexander (Jones), threw in to Marc (Peron), our midfielder, and he played me through and I ran to the net and I tried crossing it but it hit off one of the defender’s legs and it just went in,” recalled Moore.
The team got another fortunate break on the winner by Hayden Koppes who had a clearing attempt by an opponent hit him, sending him in alone on the keeper and he made no mistake in finding the back of the net with five minutes to play.
“We were all super pumped. We all felt great afterwards,” said Moore. “It happened extremely quickly (coming together as a team). Other teams entered tournaments but we only had eight practices but after the grouping of four (preliminary round), we all played together. We were a team now and it felt like a home away from home.”
While the season may now be over for his teammates, Moore will be leaving for Rotterdam Aug. 3 for a 10-day camp through the Pinnacles affiliation with the Dutch first division professional team Excelsior Rotterdam.
Mark Brett | Reporter
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