Just For Kicks
THE Honolulu Bulls Soccer Club's Under-18 boys team will spend 12 days in Holland, Aug. 6-18, for training, scrimmages, an eight-team tournament and a little sightseeing.
Bulls seek new experiences
on Holland trip
The Bulls are one of eight teams invited to the 37th International Youth Tournament of Doetinchem held in Arnhem.
"We will remain in Holland all 12 days," Bulls director of coaching Phil Neddo said. "It's a better use of our time to stay in one place since the goods are there.
"We are going to be meeting kids who will be putting on a show because this is their life. Sports is a way out of poor economic conditions for some of these players. It's a life-changing time for them. That's going to be an eye opener for our players."
The other participants in the tournament, all U-18 or U-19 teams run by top professional clubs, include Ajax Amsterdam, host Doetinchem and De Graafschap from Holland, Dynamo Tbilisi from the Republic of Georgia (formerly of the Soviet Union), RSC Anderlecht from Belgium, FC Copenhagen from Denmark and Norwich City from England.
The tournament starts two days after the Bulls arrive and is a three-day event.
A travel day Aug. 12 has the Bulls moving to Bunnik, where they will play a training match with Haarlem the following day.
A friendly match against Sportclub AZ is scheduled for Aug. 15, followed the next day by a friendly with Ajax Amsterdam, the most storied club in Holland. It's the team U.S. World Cup midfielder John O'Brien plays for.
"One of the biggest things we hope to do is establish a relationship with Ajax Amsterdam," Neddo said. "We would like their youth teams to come here in the future."
"Ajax Amsterdam has limited relationships with maybe six or seven clubs, but we offer them something different -- Hawaii -- and we want them to look at some of our kids with ability in the future."
A visit to the Dutch National Training Center in Zeist on Aug. 17 with another friendly match completes the Bulls' on-field activities.
"I think the word 'Hawaii' got us in the door," Neddo said. "Some of these European teams look for places to go train in the winter. Hopefully this will be a positive for Hawaii, give Hawaii more credibility because they will know there are people here who know soccer.
"Having our kids go there gives them a chance to see what it takes to be a professional player. We can talk to them until we're blue in the face, but they have to see and experience it.
"We would like to send a team over there every year and start doing it with some of our younger teams."
New identityThe Mililani Soccer Club has changed its name to the MSC Strikers.
The club never had a common nickname for its teams, although several of the age-group sides were called Strikers.
Director of coaching Ric Miller felt it was time for a club nickname, and Strikers seemed a good fit.
The MSC scholarship winners are Gainor Nitta and Bronson Yee. Both honorees are recent graduates from Mililani High School.