Heat to boast strong lineup
It’s a crapshoot, really.
What kind of team the Kamloops Heat will field for any given Pacific Coast Soccer League (PCSL) women’s reserve season is not usually known until a week or two before opening day.
“It’s a little bit like university,” said Excel head coach Kelly Shantz, who assists TRU WolfPack women’s soccer head coach Tom McManus during Pack soccer season.
“The faces change from year to year, with kids graduating and moving on and you never really know how it’s going to turnout.”
Luckily for Shantz and the rest of the Heat, this year’s crop of players looks like a dandy.
“We’ve got a great list of players,” Shantz said.
“I’m very excited.”
Expected to be the Heat’s backbone this season are TRU standouts defender Blair MacKay and midfielder Maddy Reid.
“They’ve both been consistent, strong performers ever since their youth days and will be leading this team as well,” Shantz said.
Bolstering Kamloops’ lineup will be forward Frankee Bencher, a Kamloops product who plays for the Victoria Vikes.
Kamloops is entering its fourth year in the PCSL’s women’s reserve division, which consists of under-21 teams.
Each team is allowed to have five over-age players on its roster.
The Heat have always been a force in the eight-team league (Chilliwack FC, Fraser Valley Action, Kelowna United, North Shore Girls Soccer Club Stars, TSS Academy, Vancouver FC and West Van FC), but have yet to win a championship.
A top-four finish will see the Heat into the playoffs this season.
Shantz is interested more in the development of his players than he is in wins, losses and championships.
“As long as we’re playing well, the kids are having fun and we’re improving, that’s our first goal,” said Shantz, noting the Heat act as a development squad for the WolfPack.
“If that translates into wins and a championship, great, but we are here to develop players and have a great time doing it.”
The Heat kick off their season on Saturday, May 7, in West Van and play away games at North Shore and Kelowna before their home opener against North Shore on May 28 at Hillside Stadium.