Just For Kicks
Expansion great for Hawaii soccer
THE decision by the Pacific West Conference to add men's and women's soccer is a boon to those players from Hawaii who prefer to remain at home and play at the NCAA Division II level.
Brigham Young-Hawaii, Chaminade and Hawaii-Hilo will be starting from scratch, and Grand Canyon and Notre Dame de Namur have established programs.
Hawaii Pacific kept soccer in its athletic program with the men's and women's teams dropping to club status when the original Pacific West Conference broke up several years ago. Both Sea Warrior programs have participated in the local adult leagues and will be ready for the return to college competition.
This past fall, 79 women and 48 men from Hawaii played at four-year colleges on the mainland. Hawaii also was well-represented at the junior college level.
With just about every high school in the state fielding a boys and girls team, BYUH, Chaminade and UH-Hilo should have no problem recruiting a core of players from the 50th State if that is the approach taken to build the teams.
UH-Hilo has hired Gordon Inouye to be director of soccer operations and he will coach the men's team. Dave Mena is the women's coach.
The Vulcans will offer the maximum number of scholarships for Division II, nine for men and 9.9 for women.
"I've already had calls from Division I players who want to transfer," said UHH sports information director Kelly Leong. "Until they get a release, all I can tell them is that Hawaii-Hilo is in Hilo."
The Vulcans coaches will hold open tryouts on campus tomorrow with the women going from 10 a.m. to noon and the men from 2 to 4 p.m. Registration starts one hour before the tryouts.
Chaminade received interest and applications for its coaching positions even before the school advertised the openings earlier this week, according to Glennie Adams, the assistant athletic director.
"We haven't determined whether or not we will offer scholarships this year," Adams said.
The Silverswords hope to play their home matches on campus if arrangements can be made with Saint Louis to use the Crusaders field.
BYUH has its own field. A search committee has started conducting interviews for both coaching positions.
"We will be giving tuition-only scholarships. This is something the league schools agreed on," said Seasiders sports information director Scott Lowe.
"This is good for Hawaii soccer. It will give the sport more visibility with eight more college teams."
HPU will have veteran coaches Frank Doyle and Mark Kane back with their men's and women's teams, respectively.
"It is a great step for Hawaii soccer to have four schools in the conference fielding teams. With the chance to go to the NCAA tournament, it gives you something to play for," Doyle said. "I also believe that over time, this conference will grow."