Kaoi Cy­clones cap­ture Hawaii Cup, now pre­par­ing for na­tional ti­tle

MidWeek Islander (West Oahu) - - Front Page -

the Hawaii Cup was es­pe­cially grat­i­fy­ing for all in­volved, given that the Cy­clones had made the cham­pi­onship game in both 2008 and 2009 — only to drop both en­coun­ters 1-0.

Kaoi leaves for Al­bu­querque June 17, where they are guar­an­teed play­ing at least three games and as many as six in their bid to ad­vance to the na­tional fi­nals.

“We kept work­ing hard,” said White. “We went out there and gave our 100 per­cent, but each time we fell a lit­tle bit short. We talked about get­ting back there (Hawaii Cup ti­tle game) all year long. They were all striv­ing for the same thing — to be bet­ter soc­cer play­ers and to be a bet­ter soc­cer team — and to be able to rep­re­sent Hawaii.”

Continuity has helped the cause, as their ros­ter has re­mained mostly in­tact for the past four years, in­clud­ing a large num­ber from Kapolei. “ Keep­ing them to­gether that long is a strug­gle,” White ad­mit­ted. “As they get older, they find other things they’d like to do.”

Co-cap­tains Rowen White and Kyler Kameoka ( a de­fender) were key play­ers, set­ting the tone through their lead­er­ship. “Kyler is a very solid player,” White said.“He’s ver­sa­tile and can play any po­si­tion, and he com­mu­ni­cates a lot to the other kids. He nat­u­rally has that qual­ity.

“ Rowen is a strong cen­ter/de­fender,” he added of his son.“He’s fast and a play maker.”

Also on the ros­ter are Tyler Braun­thal (cen­ter/mid­fielder), Kalen Ni­imi (out­side/ mid­fielder), Cur­tis Tavares (out­side de­fender), Dayne Laza (out­side de­fender), Grant Basquez (out­side/ mid­fielder), Royce Romero (cen­ter/mid­fielder), Zacharia Colo­maMar­i­ano (out­side de­fender), Pre­ston Derige (for­ward), Bran­don Be­go­nia (out­side de­fender), Niko­lai Scharer (for­ward), Chris­tian Lam (out­side/mid­fielder), Tayler Sonobe-Morita ( out­side de­fender), and Michael Wolf and Acer Tahukoa (both goal­keep­ers).

As in past years, a “de­fense­first” ap­proach has guided the team through­out 2010. “We have a strong de­fense. All ar­eas are good, but our mid­dle, with Tyler, Royce, Chris­tian and Kalen, is pretty good.”

Tam unity also has been a strength, in White’s view. While fundrais­ers and out­ings are planned to fuel close­ness, much of the co­he­sive­ness is gen­er­ated away from soc­cer.“The ma­jor­ity of the boys play XBOX, so they’re al­ways com­mu­ni­cat­ing with each other (on­line) when they play Call of Duty.”

Road trips fos­ter an­other com­mon bond. White sees trav­el­ing as more of a pos­i­tive than a dis­trac­tion. They av­er­age two Main­land trips a year, and the team com­peted in a Las Ve­gas tour­na­ment last March, so they’re more used to play­ing in a dif­fer­ent en­vi­ron­ment than a lot of teams.

“It’s al­most like a tool for the team,” said White, whose staff also in­cludes coaches Creig Lam and Eric Ta­mashiro. “It’s hard to get that kind of com­pe­ti­tion level here, so we like to go (to the Main­land). When we come back, we see the re­sults, and our play has gone to an­other level.”

The Cy­clones will know their matchups at a later date, al­though they do know they will face the state cham­pi­ons from Ore­gon, Washington and Ne­vada in their first three games.

The Cy­clones are cur­rently play­ing up a level, in a U16 H.I.S.A. League, and had a 3-2-3 record head­ing into last week­end.

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