Kai will train with national team
Natasha Kai is back on track toward the 2008 Olympics.
The former University of Hawaii soccer star has been selected to the U.S. women's national team's training camp. The 26-woman team will train Feb. 6-19 at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., in preparation for the Algarve Cup tournament in Portugal next month.
Kai, the first woman from Hawaii to train with the full women's national team, joins the roster after an injury-filled 2005.
"I'm 100 percent healed," the forward from Kahuku said. "The last one was a shoulder that I re-injured in January of last year, but that's good now."
Although Kai is the team's only rookie, she could be part of a new wave of players replacing retired national team stars such as Mia Hamm, Julie Foudy and Brandi Chastain.
One of the few holdovers is midfielder Kristine Lilly.
"It's an honor to play with her," Kai said.
She said she's excited to have a chance to be part of a new era in U.S. women's soccer.
"Oh, yeah, totally," Kai said. "I just need to stay focused and keep my priorities straight. I have a lot of things to work on every day to become a better player. I have to keep myself in shape and hopefully everything will work out the way I hope."
Kai said she still has a year to go toward her sociology degree at UH. She'll be on the Manoa campus this weekend as an instructor at the Speed and Quickness Clinics.
"Sometimes I jump into the drills, but I'm really there because I love kids, especially in Hawaii," she said. "There's so much potential here. I like to put myself out there to help them improve."
The clinics are Saturday and Sunday. The sessions for ages 7-12 are 8:30-10 a.m., and the sessions for ages 13 and up are from 10:20 a.m. to noon. Registration is 30 minutes prior to the starting times.
The fee is $10 per session. For more information call 739-5444.
Dave Reardon of the Star-Bulletin contributed to this report