Soc­cer club will do its due-dili­gence in re­plac­ing Cre­mers

Penticton Herald - - FRONT PAGE - By DAVID CROMPTON

Ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor and head coach is leav­ing af­ter 6 years at the helm

Pin­na­cles FC plans to do due dili­gence be­fore de­cid­ing how it will re­place Ezra Cre­mers, who re­signed Aug. 30 af­ter six years as the lo­cal youth soc­cer as­so­ci­a­tion’s ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor and head coach. Cre­mers, who now re­sides in Kelowna, is stay­ing on with the club un­til the end of Novem­ber, and is will­ing to con­tinue an­other three months be­yond that, said PFC board chair Tony Pa­trocinio.

Pa­trocinio said PFC’s tech­ni­cal com­mit­tee, headed up by Manuel Borba, has been en­trusted with the task of de­ter­min­ing what the club needs and a plat­form of what the soc­cer pro­gram will look like go­ing for­ward.

“We’ll be draw­ing on the knowl­edge and ex­per­tise of peo­ple who have been in­volved in soc­cer lo­cally for a long time, and speak­ing to the mem­ber­ship to get their opin­ions,” said Pa­trocinio. “We have a lot of good, qual­ity peo­ple in the soc­cer com­mu­nity and we want to get us much feed­back as pos­si­ble.”

PFC — for­merly known as the South Okana­gan Youth Soc­cer As­so­ci­a­tion — has grown dra­mat­i­cally over the last decade or so. There are roughly 1,800 young play­ers of all ages and lev­els from Pen­tic­ton to Osoy­oos, Summerland and Kere­meos un­der the PFC um­brella.

When Cre­mers was hired, the club op­er­ated mainly through the spring and into the early sum­mer. Now it is 11 months a year, with July the only month off. Along the way, the club hired two other full-time staff mem­bers to ad­min­is­ter the pro­gram.

“With the head coach po­si­tion, it’s ask­ing too much for one per­son,” said Pa­trocinio. “So, we have to fig­ure ex­actly what we need. We could hire an­other full-time per­son, but we also have the abil­ity to bring in two more peo­ple if that’s what our re­search tells us.”

Pa­trocinio said Cre­mers put in a lot of time to take the club to an­other level. His con­nec­tions in Hol­land formed an af­fil­i­a­tion for PFC with the Ex­cel­sior Rot­ter­dam pro­fes­sional club and spawned the Ex­cel­sior elite level pro­gram that runs prac­ti­cally year­round.

PFC has seen a dra­matic in­crease in play­ers earn­ing univer­sity schol­ar­ships and it has en­joyed much more suc­cess at the Thomp­sonOkana­gan and pro­vin­cial cham­pi­onship com­pe­ti­tions.

Cre­mers also guided the Pen­tic­ton Soc­cer Club’s Tim Hor­tons Pin­na­cles to their first-ever play­off berth in the Pa­cific Coast Soc­cer League Premier Men’s Divi­sion this year, us­ing pri­mar­ily play­ers de­vel­oped lo­cally at PFC.

“We are all sorry to see Ezra leave, but we com­pletely un­der­stand the rea­sons,” said Pa­trocinio, not­ing Cre­mers is now mar­ried with three young chil­dren.

“We’ve had a great re­la­tion­ship for six years. He’s done an aw­ful lot for the club.”

Pa­trocinio, mean­while, said PFC is now run­ning a fall-win­ter pro­gram for recre­ational as well as the com­pet­i­tive play­ers.

“It’s go­ing over re­ally well,” he said. “We’ve got 300 rec kids from Pen­tic­ton, Summerland, Oliver and Osoy­oos for eight weeks play­ing in the fall league, and of course the Ex­cel­sior pro­gram is go­ing with plans to at­tend three or four big tour­na­ments.”

The Adi­das Sport­splex, built around the time Cre­mers ar­rived, has al­lowed youth (and adult) play­ers to play through the win­ter months. An eight-week in­door pro­gram starts in Novem­ber, with an­other ses­sion planned through Jan­uary and Fe­bru­ary.

“It’s re­ally just July now where we take a bit of a breather,” said Pa­trocinio.


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