Just For Kicks
Max Sword stepped down as the State Director of the American Youth Soccer Organization last May, but all that meant was he glided into semi-retirement.
Sword leaves AYSO
bigger than ever
Hawaii is hosting the 2002 AYSO National Games July 8-14 at the Waipio Peninsula Soccer Park.
This is the "semi" part of Sword's retirement. He receives e-mails daily from mainland teams indicating they are ready to spend a week in the 50th state.
"Unfortunately, each AYSO region is guaranteed so many berths in the National Games, so I have a waiting list a mile long," said Sword.
There are 192 tournament slots for teams in the Under 12 to Under 19 age brackets. Sword said this is the first time every slot is filled.
Teams committed to coming are from Alabama, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Utah and Wisconsin.
Because of the overwhelming interest by mainland teams, Sword dropped the idea of inviting international teams.
During his six-year tenure as director, AYSO registrations increased 3 to 5 percent each year with the total number of registered players increasing from 19,000 to about 25,000.
The first region was established on Lanai, an additional region began operating on Maui and two new regions were set up on the Big Island.
Sword instituted section meetings on all islands so the neighbor island region leaders would have more of a say in planning.
This led to a more cohesive and united organization dedicated to Hawaii's youth and the sport of soccer.
At a time when such a move is unheard of in some states, Sword established a working relationship with the Hawaii Youth Soccer Organization by offering to coordinate schedules and field use and meeting to discuss common concerns.
They Moved OnKelly Keohen transferred to Cal State Fullerton for her senior season after three years with the Hawaii Wahine. She started 19 matches for the 13-7-0 Titans, Big West Conference title holders. Keohen took seven shots, but did not score.
Amanda Orand and K.C. Cornett transferred to Oregon and Oklahoma City, respectively, after two seasons at UH.
Orand played in 11 matches as a reserve and recorded one assist for the 8-8-2 Ducks.
Cornett scored 12 goals and had one assist in the first 12 matches for the Stars, then became ill and withdrew from school but returned this semester.
Stephanie Pearson, Wahine backup goalkeeper as a freshman in 1999, was the third-string 'keeper for San Diego State this year, playing 24 minutes, 46 seconds in one match.
CongratulationsKaleo Benz is the Hawaii State Referee of the Year.
Benz was selected for his organizational work with the Men's Island Soccer Organization. He has been the assignor since the league was formed.
Benz encountered numerous difficulties and many times was at the field all day officiating several games himself. Today, the league is viable, competitive and Benz's perseverance and hard work paid off.