NSA camp hones winners

PUHI — About 30 of Kaua’i’s aspiring soccer players turned out to capitalize on the National Soccer Association (NSA) soccer camp that started on Monday at the Island School campus.

The NSA Kaua’i Christmas Camp is the first of a series of camps hosted across California, and is not only a skills building camp, but also serves as a screening arena for potential players to further their soccer training as well as participate in the Eurotour 2006 that will feature tournaments and games in Denmark and Sweden.

Coach Kevin Devitt of the Kaua’i Soccer Association was on hand briefly, Tuesday afternoon, and after welcoming in late-comers and squaring them away with a camp shirt, had to leave for practice with the high school squads.

However, Devitt said he was pleased with the turn-out, a lot of the aspiring players aged between 12 and 14 years old.

“They are very coachable,” said coach Brad Jordan, one of the NSA coaches leading the camp. “They learn a lot, and are not afraid to play.”

Fred Hsu, the founder and director of NSA, was the other coach who was working with the soccer enthusiasts on some of the warm up exercises that had strong overtones geared towards improving field skills, but tempered with humorous overtones.

Starting in 1995, leaders of the Kaua’i Soccer Association (KSA) embarked on a journey to educate soccer players on Kaua’i with the hope of improving the “Quality” of soccer played on the island.

Since that initial step, over 50 Kaua’i coaches and hundreds of players have been exposed to NSA training. KSA’s success is demonstrated by the results of the 1997 Hawai’i High School Athletic Association competition when, for the first time in history, the Kapa’a High School girls team advanced to the finals of the state competition.

In 1996, the NSA Stars (girls age 14) won all 18 games and three championships in the prestigious European tournament. That achievement was followed in 1997 when the Kolohe Girls also won all their games and two championships.

Both of those teams were composed of many serious players from Kaua’i.

The NSA style, the methodology of training, and the NSA tours have created champions, and together with KSA coaches, NSA offers continuity in training and programs to expose players to higher level competition internationally.

This tradition continues in Puhi, and following the final day of workouts, Thursday, Devitt said they will have a meeting to discuss potential candidates for the “next” group of serious soccer players from Kaua’i.

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