The Prince George Soccer community pulled off a stellar event hosting the Asia-Pacific International friendlies at Masich Place Stadium.
Team Canada dropped both friendly matches against China but head coach Ian Bridge was happy with the team’s camp. The week long training camp allowed the team to work together as well as give back to the sport. Coaches and players took part in two clinics for the PGYSA and Bridge held a coach’s clinic.
Bridge was happy the team played better in Tuesday night’s rematch. In the opening game China dominated in the 2-0 win while on Tuesday Canada came out with a stronger effort in a 1-0 loss.
“The main thing was to come out and have a better performance than Saturday. We had probably double the scoring chances. The important thing was we sent a message to China and to ourselves. We have another level we can play at. And we were at that top level tonight,” said Bridge. Team Canada is playing a series of international friendlies this summer as they prepare for the Under 20 World Championships in Russia in August. The team is now in Kamloops where they will play Mexico twice.
“We’ve worked close to 18 months now and this is the final process with getting the team ready for worlds,” said Bridge.
Team Canada and China’s visit to Prince George was announced less than a month ago everything was set in motion quickly. Chairperson for the Asia-Pacific Friendlies Helene Rohn said the event was a success.
“I think the teams enjoyed the facilities. They were overwhelmed with what P.G. is able to do. The Canadian Soccer Association is happy with that we did. Hopefully it means we’ll be able to get more international matches and camps here,” said Rohn. Saturday’s game, which was during the BC Provincial B Championships had a crowd of roughly 2,500 while Tuesday 1,600, came out.
The PGYSA clinics had 122 kids take part and 25 coach’s came for the coaching clinic.
Bridge said when he is looking for place for a training camp he looks for a good facility and accommodation.
“I can’t say enough about the hospitality here and the way we were treated. When I look for a place for a camp I look for nice field and food. And that was taken care of A+,” said Bridge. “We’ve been blessed with great crowds for the game and great people taking care of us. I was impressed with the interest.”
Asked if he would bring his team back to Prince George Bridge didn’t hesitate, “in an instant.”