Just For Kicks
Spring vacation will be here soon and that means it is time for some of Hawaii's outstanding young soccer players to gain international and national experience and recognition.
ILH pair off to Holland
for spring ball
Richard Higa and Steven Carlson will join the Olympic Development Program Region IV for a trip to Holland.
"We going to Holland to play and train with the elite teams. The main purpose is to train with them and get better," said Higa who plays for Mid-Pacific Institute and the Honolulu Bulls Soccer Club.
Carlson, a club teammate and a striker for Punahou, will be playing right fullback for the region team. He missed all but one match of the recent Interscholastic League of Honolulu season with a broken left thumb.
"It happened in the last match of the Disney Showcase Shootout in Florida during Christmas vacation," said Carlson. "I was pretty happy when I was invited to go to Holland."
Both players have been in the region pool for three years. All their expenses are covered by the ODP program.
"That's one of the reasons I'm going," said Higa. "My dream is to go and play in the big leagues in Europe some day. This is my chance to show a little bit there."
Carlson traveled to Europe with a Bulls team two years ago and both players have competed for the Bulls in mainland tournaments.
Two Bulls teams will compete in the Nomads Tournament in San Diego. The Under-17 boys play March 22-24 and the Under-18 girls participate March 29-31.
This is a showcase tournament attended by 200-plus college coaches. There are six fields and the area between pairs of fields is restricted to college coaches.
"You can't miss them. They are all sitting there in their little chairs," said Phil Neddo, Bulls director of coaching, who will be assisted by Craig Nosse with the girls and Ray Shiraishi with the boys.
The boys roster includes Max Anton, Carlson, Makena Carr, Mitchel Fu, John Garibaldi, Duke Hashimoto, Higa, Kurt Kahui, Chris Major, Christian Marston, Shane McConnell, Satoshi Mitsuda, Timmy Picerno, David Semenza, Scottie Shiraishi, Brandon Tario and Dyrk Teramae.
The girls playing in San Diego are Ashlee Doi, Audrey Ehrhorn, Mallory Iha, Kara Ishikawa, Mari Kasamoto, Eryn Kishimoto, Allison Lipsher, Jennifer Loo, Charlene Lui, Kayla Oshiro, Jennifer Proudfoot, Lori Sakai, Tiffany Todo, Liane Tom, Romy Trigg-Smith, Seline Williams and Lindsay Yuh.
Villaflor to be a DonBen Villaflor Jr. has signed a letter of intent to play for the University of San Francisco Dons. He enrolled this semester after attending a junior college in the fall.
"He was playing for the Newport Slammers in the California Soccer League last fall. That's where I was able to observe and scout Ben," said USF coach Erik Visser.
"He strong, has good athletic ability, is calm in collecting the ball in traffic and distributes the ball well.
"My experience with Hawaiian kids has been great. They are hard working, dedicated and, if you care for them, they will go to bat for you."