Just For Kicks
WHAT a pleasure to see Clint Mathis and Josh Wolff make the final cut for the U.S. national men's soccer team that opens World Cup play against Portugal on Wednesday in South Korea.
Personable duo leads
U.S. into World Cup
Mathis and Wolff are personable young men who served as instructors at the Honolulu Bulls Christmas holiday camp at Waialae Iki Field. They were popular with the campers; the two showed no hints of an "I'm special" attitude or airs because of their national team status.
Mathis, coming off an ACL injury last year, played in 11 of the 14 U.S. tune-up matches, starting seven, but was the Americans' top scorer with six goals and one assist. The midfielder/striker is fully recovered from a broken toenail suffered against Jamaica on May 16.
Wolff, a striker, started four of the eight matches he played in and contributed three goals and one assist.
The most experienced member of the U.S. team is midfielder Cobi Jones, who has 155 caps (international appearances). Striker Joe-Max Moore has scored the most goals (24) in international play for the Americans.
Hopefully they have improved offensively from 1998, when they scored just once in losing all three pool-bracket matches to finish last among the 32 teams in France.
The U.S. scored 25 goals in compiling a 9-4-1 record leading up to this World Cup. But all four defeats were to teams from Europe. The U.S. managed just three goals in those matches.
The biggest challenge for the Americans is having the necessary speed on defense to neutralize opposing strikers and midfielders.
Coach Bruce Arena's big decision is whether Brad Friedel or Kasey Keller starts in goal.
CongratulationsSixteen Hawaii team have qualified for the Snickers Regional Tournament in Salt Lake City, June 23-29. They earned the right to represent the 50th state with division victories in the Snickers HYSA State Cup.
The girls teams with the coach's name in parentheses are: Under 12, Kool Too (Ross Shimabuku); U13, MSC G '89 Gold (James Uson); U14, MSC G '88 Gold (Joshua Rolf); U15, Leahi '87 (Scott Keopuhiwa and Laurie Baker); U16, HSC Bulls '86 Ka'ula G (Phil Neddo); U17, Leahi '85 (Jamie Kawamura); U18, HSC Bulls '84 (Neddo), and U19, HSC Bulls '83 (Neddo).
Hawaii's boys teams are: U12, Maui United Hurricanes (Chuck Nunes); U13, HSC Bulls '89 Ka'ula B (Jose Dydasco); U14, HSC Bulls '88 Ka'ula B (Mike Guidry); U15, MSC B '87 Gold Illusions (Tony Hart); U16, MSC B '86 Gold (Stan Tada); U17, HSC Bulls '85 (Neddo); U18, MSC B '85 Gold (Ric Miller), and U19, HSC Bulls '83 (Jeff Lau).
Ouch!James Barbosa, a Punahou grad and sophomore midfielder for Dartmouth, played little last fall after suffering his third concussion in a game.
"He has been cleared to play, but after the second one, we made a deal as a family that if he suffered another one, he wouldn't play anymore," said his father, Jorge. "He went to Dartmouth for the education. The soccer was gravy."
James, who is majoring in international business and environmental science, is continuing in the sport as a student coach with the Big Green men's varsity team. He will travel with the team on a preseason trip to Ireland in August.