Pinnacles FC plans to do due diligence before deciding how they 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, will be 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 has 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 year-round.
PFC has seen a dramatic increase in players earning university scholarships and have enjoyed much more success at the Thompson-Okanagan 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.