Women’s head coach Kevin Booker speaks ahead of the League1 BC season

Original publication: https://www.tssfc.ca/blog

TSS Rovers’ head coach discusses the focus on homegrown local players to fill out the League 1 roster.

After an opening weekend without a game, TSS Rovers’ women’s side kick-off their third League1 BC season on Sunday as they take on the Whitecaps at Thunderbird Stadium. The Rovers finished fourth last season, enough to make the playoffs, where they met an early exit at the hands of Sunday’s opposition.

Head coach Kevin Booker is aware of the talented teams within the league but says the Rovers are ready to compete and challenge for league and championship titles: “We have every intention of being competitive and being right there come the end of the season. The ambition question was asked of the players; they all expressed a desire to go out and be as competitive as they can.”

An emphasis on local talent has given those who have risen through the Rovers ranks or played with the fall/winter premier team more involvement with the League1 BC set-up. “There are 15 players in the squad who have been part of our youth programme… and we have 13 players who play on our fall/winter Premier women’s team.”

“It’s key to the cohesiveness of the team. Understanding our methodologies and some of our principles of play helps a lot; we’re not having to teach these players concepts they’ve never seen or heard of before. How we play football has always been important to us at TSS.”

“There are 15 players in the squad who have been part of our youth programme… and we have 13 players who play on our fall/winter Premier women’s team.

There is an extensive youth set-up within TSS Rovers, and the importance of the younger generations aspiring to the League1 teams is imperative to the continued development and success of each player.

“It’s important for us to represent our club to all the young players,” added Booker. “We want them to see that these [League1] players have gone through the same process as the one they’re going through.”

Current League1 BC champions Whitecaps are first up for the Rovers in a fixture that is perhaps the toughest of the season. “They won everything last season, and frankly, they are set up where they should be; they’ll be competitive,” said Booker. “They train year-round and have some of the top talent from our province. We’re confident that we’re going to be competitive, though.”

With the news of the Whitecaps’ inclusion in the inaugural Concacaf W Champions Cup, there is an added incentive for League1 teams to win the inter-provincial championships this season. Getting there is a challenge, but the ability to take part in such a tournament provides an extra layer of opportunity for these players to showcase their talents.

“As a group, if our attention and energy drifted that far ahead, we would be missing some important steps here at the beginning of the season. We have to make sure we are taking the right steps and building towards that time of year so that we are peaking at the right time.

Although Booker’s focus is on the present, he admitted the tournament is a welcome addition to women’s soccer in the province. “When you take a step back and take a thousand-foot view, you certainly get excited—excited for the team and the opportunities that this brings, but also for the province; these young players are starting to get the opportunities that they deserve.”