The similarities between the Kamloops Heat men's and women's soccer teams go much further than the shared name.
Kamloops has two teams playing in the Pacific Coast Soccer League this summer, both named the Heat. The Heat women play in the premier division, while the Heat men compete in the reserve (under-21) class.
And both came about for the same reason - to give the local university students a place to play competitively over the summer.
The Heat men, in their first season of PCSL play, comprise mostly TRU WolfPack players and alumni. The team is coached by Sean Wallace and John Antulov, who are co-coaches of the WolfPack during its Pacific West Athletic Association season.
"What we're focusing on is trying to give our TRU guys in Kamloops an opportunity to play and train with us," Wallace said Sunday, after his team had defeated Victoria United 4-2 at Hillside Stadium.
The Heat women's program has been together in one form or another for five years, and currently is under the guidance of Kelly Shantz.
Its roster also is mostly university students, 14 of them from the WolfPack. It also features players from the Simon Fraser Clan (Taylor Shantz and Marlie Rittinger), Quest Kermodes (Brianna Powrie and Madison Maloski), Carleton Ravens (Sarah Seebach) and Victoria Vikes (Frankee Bencher).
"We've got a great mix," Kelly Shantz said. "Seven or eight of these girls were on my youth U18 team last year . . . we're happy with the mix."
The Heat teams took over Hillside on Sunday, with the men playing at noon and the women following with a 4-1 loss to the Fraser Valley Action soon after. Sarah Seebach had the goal for the Heat, which was decent, except for a 20-minute stretch in the first half when Daniela Hampton scored three goals to give Fraser Valley a 3-0 lead.
But it's all a learning experience for Shantz's women, who now are 1-1-1 in the PCSL's toughest conference.
"We'll learn a lot from today," he said. "The tempo at premier is a lot different, and we have to be ready for this. Those 20 minutes show what happens when you're not ready."
The Heat men are enjoying early success, as they also beat the Mid-Isle Highlanders 4-1 on Saturday afternoon. Kamloops now is 3-0-1.
That's pretty good record for a team that almost never happened.
The Kamloops Excel, which had played in the PCSL premier division for five years, is taking the year off, so the league asked Wallace and Antulov to field a reserve team this season.
"John and I talked, and we're trying to find somewhere for a full-time program, and this is a progression toward that," Wallace said. "We're playing U21 this year, and hopefully we can apply to go to the (premier) league next year."
The Heat men's team got some help from the "Friends of Errol Wild Group," which held a fundraiser in the fall. The group donated $2,500 to help the Heat get off the ground.
"They were very generous," Wallace said. "They helped with out budget for the year, and that will help immensely.
"We're waiting for TRU and (athletics and recreation director) Ken Olynyk, because he may help us out as well, based on the number of TRU players."
On Saturday, Avnil Deo scored twice and Justin Smeaton and Nolan Wallace singled. Kyle Bowman, Jacob Kaay, Justin Wallace and Peter Moen had the goals for Kamloops on Sunday.