The Salmon Arm Golds football team is full optimism, and are hoping to write a new chapter in the program’s history.
With new additions to the coaching staff and the switch to BC High School Football Association’s AAA Varsity League, the Golds are venturing into unknown territory.
“Being a part of this league really gives us something to play for, as we will look to make it to the playoffs,” said head coach Brad Schmidt.
He said in the past few seasons the team played in the AA exhibition league, which saw many games cancelled or lack a competitive nature.
“The last few years was a real mishmash of games. The boys are excited for the level of competition this year, it will be a huge step up for us.”
The regular season does not start until Oct. 10 in North Delta at Seaquam Secondary.
Three of the Golds five regular season games will be at home, either at Little Mountain or the Sullivan campus.
“The games at Sullivan will be afternoon games and students will be able to watch them from the hill. We’re hoping to have a real good atmosphere at these games, something like they have in the States,” said Schmidt.
New to the coaching staff this year is James O’Kane, who recently moved from Cranbrook and holds a level two Coaching Association of Canada certificate.
As a newcomer to the program O’Kane has been pleased with the level of skill and athleticism in the squad, which he cites as being the team’s major strengths.
“I think we will be recognized for our speed and athletic ability out on the field,” said O’Kane. “We are also very talented defensively; I can’t wait to see how we match up to some of the bigger schools.”
Running the offence this year is Jordan Grieve, a Golds alumni and five-year veteran of the UBC program, which will help round out the team.
While both Schmidt and O’Kane admit the team is small in numbers, they believe their team is a committed bunch.
“Being with the team through the preseason practices you really get the sense that they all share and believe in the ‘no man left behind’ mentality,” said O’Kane.
The Golds kick off their preseason at a jamboree tournament in Kamloops on Friday.
Their first home game in the exhibition season will be against Westsyde, under the lights at Little Mountain Sports Fields on Friday, Sept. 18 at 7 p.m.
Schmidt says there is still time to join the team and those interested should contact him as soon as possible. Schmidt can be reached at 250-515-0775.