Kaua’i boys soccer head coach Mark Brandeburg enters his eighth season with a heavily experienced group that’s ready to battle for the KIF title.
“Any year, the KIF is extremely tight and on any given day, a team can win,” Brandeburg said.
Key Red Raider players are Nelson Wiencek, a transfer from Kapa’a, Jeremy Victor (goalie), Mikiala Cup Choy, Danny Riggle, Agu Garcia, Ryan Nagaoka, and Frank Speetjens.
According to Brandeburg, Waimea seems to be the team to beat this season.
“Coming out of the gate, Waimea has a little bit of an advantage. It’s going to be another great season,” Brandeburg said.
The Red Raiders dominated the Hilo tournament with wins over Honoka’a, 2-1, Kamehameha-Big Island, 2-1, and Hilo, 3-1 on their way to the championship trophy.
“It’s going to be a very good defensive year. We got a good balanced rotation and it should be a good season,” Brandeburg said.
Red Raider girls picking up steam
After winning the Hilo tournament, the Red Raider girls soccer squad is ready to take the KIF by storm.
“We have 11 seniors and most of them are returning,” head coach Blanche Arakaki said.
The Red Raiders defeated Hilo, 7-0, last year’s BIIF champs, Honoka’a, 4-1, and Kamehameha-Big Island, 6-4.
“We didn’t expect to do so well. We were kind of surprised,” Arakaki said.
Allison Arakaki, Cory Arashiro, Tiffany Ikeda-Simao, Jamilee Jimenez, Emma Makepa-Foley, Auika Muragin, Darci Murata, Tahnee Shigematsu, Rachel Taira, and Megan Vento will start for the Red Raiders.
“Right now our game is to try to stop both Waimea and Kapa’a. I’m pretty sure that they’ll be able to do it,” Arakaki said.
Kaua’i will be without the services of one of its top players from last season in Kristen Shim, who moved to Las Vegas.
“It was a shock to everyone that she left, but I think it was good for her. Mainland schools can recruit her. We had to really pick and choose to fill her spot,” Arakaki said.
Kaua’i battled Kapa’a for the KIF title last season and this year should be no different.
“I think it’s even. We still have to fight and not take anything lightly. All the girls are really close. They do everything together,” Arakaki said.
KIF soccer continues today, with Kapa’a battling Kaua’i at Hanapepe Stadium. JV action starts the festivities off at 10 a.m. Varsity action begins at 1:30 p.m.