Kaoi Cyclones capture Hawaii Cup, now preparing for national title
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.