The West Boundary has rallied around three local Grade 9 soccer players who have earned a place on the field at the 2014 BC Soccer Provincial B Cup U-14 tournament in Richmond this weekend.
Ronny Puno, KJ Taktsang and Samuel Foy are members of the Pinnacles FC based in Penticton. The team just won the Thompson-Okanagan Division so they are off to the provincials.
As if practicing two nights a week in Penticton and playing every weekend weren’t commitment enough for the three boys, when they won the right to go to the provincials it came with an immediate need to raise money to cover the costs of the trip. They set the goal to raise $4,000, and the community stepped up to give them over half of that in only two weeks.
The money was raised by word of mouth, bottle drives and asking businesses to help sponsor the trip.
“The community was really generous,” Foy said. In the first week and a half they had already raised over $1,500.
His father and Pinnacles coach Brian Foy agreed. “The amount of money that our community has donated to these kids is pretty impressive.”
Samuel played in Nelson before moving to the Pinnacles and the Okanagan league last year.
The Penticton Soccer Association (PSA) encompasses Osoyoos, where all three of the Boundary boys also play on a house team. But they practice and play on the Pinnacles rep team.
This will be the first trip to the provincials for any of the boys; for the coach too. Coach Foy appreciates the support from the boys’ families too. “Every weekend we have games in Kamloops, Penticton or Vernon,” the coach said. “It’s a ridiculous commitment for us parents but the determination and commitment of the boys is inspiring.”
“I’ve been playing soccer since I was a little baby,” Taktsang told the Times in a phone interview on Monday afternoon. “I usually play left mid—my job is to pass up to the striker.”
“One thing I like about soccer is it’s in the summer so there’s the sun and it’s nice weather and all that,” Taktsang said. “I love it. It’s one of my favourite things that I like to do.”
Puno is a striker. He describes his job on the field as scoring the goals and setting up other strikers. He’s been playing soccer since Grade 1.
“I like soccer because of the rush,” Puno said, adding, “No other sport does it like soccer!”
Foy has been playing since age seven, and is in his second year playing on the Pinnacles. He is a versatile player sometimes left wing, usually taking the centre mid position.
“It’s a fun game,” Foy observed. “A good way to get out of our small town and meet some new people and have fun and be social.”