J. L. Crowe athletic director Larry Reid takes a break with Grade 12 student Brian Demeo after readying the new official sized soccer turf for the senior girls opening game Wednesday.

J. L. Crowe athletic director Larry Reid takes a break with Grade 12 student Brian Demeo after readying the new official sized soccer turf for the senior girls opening game Wednesday.

Crowe field ready for play

Soccer girls take to the turf on Wednesday.

It has been a long time in the making but the soccer pitch is ready and the J. L. Crowe Secondary senior girls soccer team is eager for opening season kick off.

It’s been five years since teams have played on any field at the Trail high school but after the opening of the new school last fall, sod was laid and is now ready for the official launch of the 2011 season.

Until now, classes and teams used Pople Park in Shavers Bench and Sunningdale Park but Monday saw the first tentative venture onto the freshly cut and marked field of green adjacent to the secondary school.

“These are the first units; it’s exciting to have a P.E. class on our own field again,” said Crowe athletic director Larry Reid who spent the day putting up soccer nets and marking the field for the girls opening soccer game Wednesday.

This year’s soccer team, coached by Alex Hartman and Kyle Wheeler, is comprised mostly of rookies as the majority of players graduated last year.

“We have a very skilled squad this year,” said Hartman. “ But this year is a rebuilding year just because we only have three returning players from last year.”

The team competed in a tournament in Creston on the weekend, finishing with two wins and two losses; respectable but not quite up to the sixth-year coach’s expectations.

“Sometimes you have those killer earthworms that get into the girls heads, and they think they can’t do it but they can,” said Hartman.

After winning a berth to the provincials in 2009 and reaching the semi-finals in zone play last year, hopes are high for the Crowe club.

They begin an eight game schedule with their first match against Rosssland Senior Secondary before playoffs and ultimately the Kootenay playdowns and provincials in May.

“They are great kids and they’ll come together, but just with the season so short I hope they have enough time to come together before West Kootenays.”

The Rossland team will be a tough match says Hartman after watching them play on the weekend. But with new home turf and fresh legs he’s looking forward to a successful season.

The game starts at 4 p.m. Wednesday at J. L. Crowe.