PCSL young guns ready to roll

Chilliwack FC's U-21 Pacific Coast Soccer League squad is setting its sights high heading into the 2012 season.

Chilliwack’s Pacific Coast Soccer League women’s team stands at the start of a season they believe holds great potential.

The 2012 PCSL championships will be hosted by Chilliwack in July, giving the home side an automatic berth.

Chilliwack has twice been a PCSL finalist, but never taken the whole enchilada.

Head coach Glenn Wilson believes this could be the year they break through, fielding a roster that is stocked with a healthy mix of youth and experience.

“Things are looking really positive,” Wilson said Wednesday morning. “This might be as strong a team as we’ve had on the women’s side, and we’ve always been very competitive.”

Wilson is working five rookies into the lineup, fresh-faced youngsters straight out of the U-17 metro level. Goalkeeper Presley Roberts is the youngest of all at 16 years old.

“But she has tons of potential and has shown real well in pre-season training,” Wilson said. “A lot of her teammates couldn’t believe how old she was.”

Two more freshmen, Adelle Gaudette and Kirsten Hinloepen, will play as defenders. Wilson describes both as reliable and tenacious and has little doubt they will adapt quickly to the higher level.

Up front, Wilson expects big things from striker Carmen Devette.

“She is a very intelligent player,” he said. “Often strikers just have to be fast and lethal around the penalty area. But as you progress, you have to know how to evade markers and use the field better, and Carmen has a good head for doing that.”

The last rookie is a Korean import, Rachel Yang.

“She has grown up with a soccer ball on her feet, and technically she is the most gifted player on the team,” Wilson said. “She’s a left-sided player with bags of skill, and it’s a matter of how quickly she’ll make the transition. With all the players, they all have the ability, it’s just a case of confidence.”

To help them out, Wilson has a full complement of overage players. PCSL squads are allowed five.

For veteran leadership, Wilson will be looking to captain Dariann Kloot.

“She is in the middle of the pack in terms of age, but she’s been on team the last three seasons. She’s a leader in training. She’s serious about her game, and her work ethic raises the standard of others.”

Heather Iverson is a recent addition with a glowing soccer resume.

“Heather Iverson has played at the university and women’s metro level and appears to be very versatile player,” Wilson said.

The women open May 12 on the road with a tough task, facing the Fraser Valley Action.

“It’s always a tough game against one of the better teams, and it will give us a good idea of what we’re up against,” Wilson said. “We think we can be really good this year, and with the finals here in July, we don’t want to just be there because we’re the host. We want to be competitive.”

Chilliwack’s home opener is May 13 at Townsend Park (2 p.m.) versus TSS Academy.