Learning process for PCSL men

Chilliwack Football CLub vs. Penticton Pinnacles

Coach Graeme Slee would have valid reason for concern three games into the Pacific Coast Soccer League U-21 season.

Three games.

Three losses.

Zero goals for.

Ten goals against.

Not the kind of line you want to see as you scan the standings, but Slee says it’s all part of the development process for his young crew.

“The PCSL reserve is a development league, and the way we’ve approached this season is to go with massive youth,” Slee said in the aftermath of  a 2-0 home-field loss to Penticton on Saturday. “We’ve got a bunch of 16 and 17-year-olds, and just three overagers. Penticton treats it like a summer-league team and they play their best players, including five overagers. It makes a big difference sending our guys against guys who are 24 and 25 years old.”

Slee said his group is struggling with the pace at the higher level, most noticeably on the defensive end.

Surrendering two goals against Penticton was a step in the right direction after losing 3-0 and 5-0 the previous weekend.

“It took Penticton 70 minutes to score against us on Saturday, so that’s a ruler that says we did improve,” Slee said. “You take individual players  like Kyle Staiger and Jordan Van Drimmelin and you can see them getting better game to game and week to week.”

Offensively, Slee believes the chances and goals will come if his team plays with more urgency.

“It’s transition from defence to attacking, and these guys had been playing at levels where that transition isn’t so drastic,” Slee explained. “Now, the transition has to be considerably faster to get opportunities. That’s what we have to work on, and the shots and goals will come as we hit our objectives.”

The locals are back home Saturday, hosting West Van FC at 2 p.m. on the turf field at Townsend Park.

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