Monday, July 12, 1999
Isle soccer fans
glad sport is
The attention brought byBy Al Chase
the World Cup was justly
deserved, they say
Hawaii's soccer community has been smiling for three weeks over the spectacle that was the Women's World Cup.
For some of Hawaii's soccer coaches, referees and administrators, reactions and feelings were varied after the United States won the world championship. They watched the games with different perspectives, noticed different aspects and remember different things.
Alexis Kane, who is co-head coach of Hawaii Pacific's women's team with husband Mark, returned last night from watching Saturday's games in the Rose Bowl.
"I watched very game on TV, but it's not the same as being at the Rose Bowl, It's a totally different feeling," Kane said. "My girlfriend and I just looked at each other and wept. It was a moment for all of us, for all the people who were part of this history. We all had a little part of it.
"You had to be there to experience the moment. It was absolutely the very best thing I've ever attended. This means so much for women and women's sports. When we first started playing soccer we couldn't have imagined this. It was all worth it.
"... It wasn't a disappointment not to see goals because of the way they played. But it was a tribute to the defenders and how well each team scouted the other one."
Gwen Barros, Hawaii Soccer Association secretary and state registrar, who went to the men's World Cup in 1994, said she wishes she could have been in Pasadena this past weekend.
"The level of play was excellent. I thought the final was a great game. To play on a field that size for 90 minutes, then to have to play two overtimes, was amazing. I couldn't believe them," Barros said.
"I think more people have been made aware of women's soccer. My husband, who doesn't even play soccer, knows the names of all the American women. A lot of people who didn't have an interest in soccer, do now and I think it's because of the girls on the team. They are charismatic, All-American girls."
"I was impressed with the overall individual player skills. I didn't see anyone who was an Achilles' heel of their team," said Bob Clague, who has coached the Punahou boys' team to 14 state titles.
"I told my kids (in the summer league), if you want to see a player who can one-touch a ball into an intelligent pass, watch Brazil's Sissi. She does it every time.
Trish Fernandez, who quickly states soccer is her overall passion, says the game is for everyone, especially families.
"It's not about who is from where or what, it's just a game that is really fascinating," said Fernandez, a coach, referee and president of the Maui Men's League.
"The result, of course, should make every American proud. For the women of this country and the world, the win, as well as the tournament, speaks loudly, builds confidence and respect and creates a whole new set of possibilities for women."
HSA vice-president Jack Sullivan, who also returned from Pasadena last night, said the Chinese were every bit as good as the Americans. He felt there would have been more scoring if one team had connected for a goal early. He also was amazed at the play of U.S. midfielder Michelle Akers.
"The question now is how to get around penalty kicks as the deciding factor in something as crucial as this. It's something we have to address," Sullivan said.
"I was really impressed with a lot of the teams, especially Brazil. The tournament shows what soccer can be like," said George-Ann Derby, coach of Iolani's three state girls' championship teams.
"I especially admire the grit of the (U.S.) goalkeeper, Briana Scurry. She was determined to do it."
Jeff Moses, who was co-head coach with Derby for the first two Iolani crowns, said he appreciated the ball control exhibited by the Chinese and Americans.
"The women have really developed. They go wide, they have set throw-in plays, plays for corner kicks and they can really throw the ball in from the sideline.
"I watched the (Major League Soccer) men's game afterward and the teams didn't seem as well-organized and they didn't have the kind of build up the women do."
For Sherri Ward, player, referee and director of the Ranger Soccer League for some 20 years, the World Cup was vindication.
"In 1971 when some of us girls started playing soccer the men around felt we couldn't play soccer, that we were too slow, too stupid," Ward said. "Now it's a whole different aspect. Title IX had a lot of impact.
"I was just happy to see them play so well. It is something women can do. They played like women who know the game. And, the American women looked like women, not guys on steroids wearing bras."