Al Chase

Just For Kicks

By Al Chase

Thursday, October 7, 1999

Fouts went east to
find opportunity

JOSHUA Fouts never gives strikers a break, but he has benefited from a couple of "being in the right place at the right time" breaks during his soccer career.

A goalkeeper with the talent to frustrate the desires of opposing strikers, Fouts led the Kalaheo Mustangs through an Oahu Interscholastic Association season without allowing a goal as a senior.

Then, he established the single season (9) and career records for shutouts (19) at Gonzaga.

This past summer, Fouts played for the A-League Boston Bulldogs, but we're getting ahead of the story.

Fouts wasn't recruited by Gonzaga. Instead, he spent his freshman year at Quincy, an NCAA Division II school in Illinois.

But he was not in the right place. The starting goalkeeper for the Hawks was a sophomore, and Fouts didn't see a lot of playing time in his future.

So, he called Gonzaga head coach Einar Thorarinsson, who was about to lose his senior keeper and was definitely interested. Fouts made the move.

THREE years later he graduated from the Spokane, Wash., university with a 3.34 grade point average, a degree in special education and, as a senior, was named Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year.

But his soccer career stalled. Tryouts with A-League teams in San Francisco, San Diego and Seattle did not go well. Fouts was playing with the Spokane Shadow, which he classified as one level below the Hawaii Tsunami. One day he received a telephone call from college teammate Chris Larochelle.

"He made the (Boston) Bulldogs' roster as a walk-on. He told me they had a backup keeper who wasn't up to speed and that I should come and see if I could knock him out," Fouts said.

He went for a tryout the week before graduation and Bulldogs coach John Kerr Jr. liked what he saw and signed Fouts for the season.

"I was kind of lucky because my teammate set me up," Fouts said.

The A-League is at the top of the United Soccer Leagues, one step below Major League Soccer.

EXCEPT for attending a soccer camp in Connecticut for two weeks, Fouts had never been to New England before.

"At first, it was culture shock big time. It's so diverse, different from the West Coast. Maybe, it's from growing up in Hawaii, which is one of the most laid-back places in the world," Fouts said. "But the first feeling I had was everyone was so busy, so caught up, they had no time to smile.

"But once I got to know teammates, they told me cool places to go."

He found the A-League caliber of play to be very high because there are many players with MLS experience.

"The speed of the game is quicker and, upstairs, they were just so much more efficient with the game. It was a pleasure to be around that caliber and to train with them."

Fouts did learn how to find his way around Eastern Massachusetts working regular clinics sponsored by the Bulldogs. He enjoyed it and has been bitten by the coaching bug.

The Bulldogs have invited him back next summer and own his option rights. Fouts would like to play on the West Coast to be closer to his family and girlfriend, but he also realizes he may have to head east again to further his soccer career.

In the off-season, he works as a substitute special education teacher in Portland, Ore., and plays in the men's league.


Jorge Barbosa is the new varsity girls' soccer coach at Punahou. He was Interscholastic League of Honolulu coach of the year while at La Pietra several years ago.

He replaces Debbie Ching.

Al Chase has been covering sports in Hawaii
since 1968. His column appears on Thursdays.
From the local ranks to the World Cup,
Al Chase will help keep you up to date on futbol.

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