Members of Coastal FC Peace Arch celebrate after a goal earlier this month.

Members of Coastal FC Peace Arch celebrate after a goal earlier this month.

Coastal FC aiming for return to the top

Men's premier soccer team second in Fraser Valley Soccer League's premier division

After spending the last couple seasons in something of a rebuilding mode – at least by their own standards – Coastal FC Peace Arch is back among the contenders in the Fraser Valley Soccer League.

The premier men’s squad – which changed its name from Peace Arch United after Peace Arch, Semiahmoo and South Fraser associations amalgamated earlier this year – is firmly entrenched among the premier division leaders with a 4-0-2 record.

Last Friday, Coastal took over sole possession of second place – behind only Langley – after a 2-1 win over Pitt Meadows’ Westcoast FC, who dropped to third with the loss.

Luke Ash and Ryan Dormer scored for the Peninsula side.

“Obviously, we had a five or six year period there where we won all there was to win – league titles, Pakenham Cups, you name it,” said team manager and former captain John Collins.

“Then we had a couple years of rebuilding – even though we still made the Provincial Cup – but now we’re starting to see some results from all that work.”

Last year, Coastal FC was third in FVSL league standings with a 7-6-5 record, and lost the Soccerwest Elite Cup final to PoCo. It was also just the second time in nine seasons the team had not won a cup title of some description; they’ve won five of the last eight Pakenham Cups and last spring were named FVSL’s team of the decade for the period of 2001-2011.

And though such lofty standards may be tough for newcomers to live up to, Collins said the team’s new younger core of players has thrived.

Departing veterans, such as himself, last year’s captain Jackson Reeve and Dave Hleucka – who has now dropped the first half of his former ‘player-coach’ title – have made way for younger players, including the team’s new captain, 22-year-old Scott Barling, who missed all of last season with a knee injury.

“We’ve added four of five new players, and I really think we’re younger, fitter, and stronger. We have a good mix of guys, and the energy level is really high and the attitude is good,” Collins said.

Sitting just one point back of first-place Langley, Coastal FC is in good shape heading down the stretch, and Collins said the team has stressed to its new players the importance of winning as many league games as they can, to avoid having to scratch and claw for good playoff position later in the season.

“We’re really pushing the guys, and reiterating how important it is to win the league. It gives you home-field advantage for the Provincial Cup down the road, so we’re aiming for that,” he said.

Coastal FC Peace Arch is back on the field Saturday, playing the PMSC Lordco Gunners at South Surrey Athletic Park at 12:30 p.m.

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