High schoolers sign
to play on mainland
Wednesday was the first day Hawaii's high school seniors could sign a national letter of intent to play soccer for an NCAA school. The signing period runs through Aug. 1.
Several prep standouts made their decisions early and signed with the school of their choice. Others are still mulling over offers or deciding what part of the mainland they want to display their talents.
David Gualdarama signed to play for the New Mexico Lobos. A first-team Star-Bulletin all-state selection last year, the midfielder from Kamehameha also received interest from Santa Clara, but only made an official visit to UNM.
"The coaching staff is easy to get along with and it was cool hanging out with the players," said Gualdarama, who has a partial athletic scholarship.
Kamehameha coach Andrew AhNee said, "David has everything. Maybe the past two years he didn't take too many shots. We asked him to shoot more this year and he did that. It was the only thing missing from his game."
The Lobos were 8-9-3 last year but advanced to the championship game of the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation tournament, where they lost to San Jose State 3-2.
Stephen Carlson, another first-team Star-Bulletin all-state selection a year ago, made official visits to Duke, Santa Clara, Brown and Loyola Marymount before deciding to sign with LMU.
"I think it was the location of the school. I felt more comfortable there with the school and the atmosphere than on my other visits," Carlson said about the deciding factor.
The Punahou striker said the LMU coaches want him to play sweeper, a position he has played for the Honolulu Bulls Soccer Club.
The Lions finished 12-7-1 after bowing out of the NCAA Tournament in the second round with a 1-0 overtime loss to Santa Clara.
Allison Lipsher, a tri-captain at Punahou, committed to play for the Duke Blue Devils after also considering Stanford, Virginia and Santa Clara.
The Star-Bulletin all-state, first-team goalkeeper a year ago took official visits to all the schools except Virginia before making her decision.
"It was mostly the people I met at Duke. They were open and honest," said Lipsher, who will be on a partial athletic scholarship.
The Blue Devils finished 14-7-1 last fall after losing to Texas A&M in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Lipsher will battle two other goalkeepers, a junior and a senior, for playing time this fall.
Allison Tsuchida, also tri-captain for Punahou, signed with Boise State of the Western Athletic Conference and will receive a partial athletic scholarship. The midfielder considered UC San Diego and Loyola Marymount but only made an official visit to BSU.
Tsuchida said she was deciding whether to wait until her club team played in a mainland tournament during spring vacation to see if there were other schools interested, but made her decision after her visit.
"I just really fell in love with the place. I liked the small community and town. The team and coaches were really nice. I was there in October and it was cold," said Tsuchida. "I looked at their schedule and we come back to play Hawaii next year."
She may play center back for the Broncos, a position she plays for the Honolulu Bulls.
See the Columnists section for some past articles.
Just for Kicks runs every other Sunday in the Star-Bulletin.
Al Chase can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org