2008 USYSA FAR WEST REGIONALS
Waipio Peninsula Park to host USYSA regional
Add in AYSO's national championships and close to 400 teams should visit in summer '08
For Steve Fukunaga, the prospect of seeing his talented daughter play soccer in a mainland tournament was exciting enough.
Someday soon, Tracee Fukunaga could be among the players who will participate in the 2008 USYSA Far West Regionals at Waipio Peninsula Soccer Park. Mayor Mufi Hannemann's announcement yesterday at Honolulu Hale means that more than 200 teams, along with families and tourney officials, will fill airline seats and hotel rooms in June 2008.
"It's gonna be a plus for the Hawaii families," said Steve Fukunaga, who traveled with Tracee from Hilo to Oahu to play for the Honolulu Bulls. The team returned recently from the Far West Regionals in Boise, Idaho.
"It's really clean in the city," said Tracee, 11. She believes mainland teams will get a treat by coming to the islands.
"Hawaii is a different place. Our culture is different. We have beaches all around us," she said.
In addition to the USYSA tourney, AYSO will bring its national championships to Oahu in July 2008. That's an additional 192 teams projected to travel to the islands.
Both tournaments were held here in 2002 and 2003. Hawaii Youth Soccer Association official Scott Keopuhiwa likes the two-year preparation time.
"One thing we could do better is (hotel) room blocks," said Keopuhiwa, a longtime youth coach who is now the boys coach at Pearl City.
Kamehameha girls coach Michelle Nagamine is also a HYSA official. Her position in sports marketing for Outrigger Hotels makes it easier to secure rooms.
"It's early, so there's ways to lock it up," Nagamine said. "My main goal is raise money for HYSA. You only get one shot in a situation like this. It'll help give us padding for the future."