LIHUE — More than 150 of Kauai’s youth soccer players had the opportunity to work with University of Hawaii soccer players on Saturday at Vidinha Stadium.
“Coach (Michelle Nagamine) is not happy with how the team performs on the road,” said Nancy Harker, whose granddaughter Loghan Hana was participating in the clinic. “They’re doing a team bonding trip, and during the inter-team scrimmage, will work to have the team ready to play any time, any place.”
The Hawaii Rainbow Wahine team finished its 2012 season at 8-9-3, 3-5-1 in conference play for sixth place. During the season, Hawaii suffered one win, one tie and eight losses on the road.
Harker, who harks from a three-generation soccer family with granddaughters Bailey and Loghan, said the Kauai road trip is not a cruise. The team, she said, is being boarded at a neighborhood center and not a fancy hotel.
“Coach is getting them ready early,” Harker said. “This is the first time the team has been all together as a team and this is the first time the public can see all the players on the roster at the same time.”
The trip and free clinic was coordinated through the county’s Department of Parks and Recreation.
“In addition to the article in the newspaper, we emailed all of the American Youth Soccer Organization families and invited the club players,” William Trugillo, a Parks and Recreation staff member and community coach, said. “This is a good opportunity for the kids to learn from college players.”
Nagamine introduced Skye Shimabukuro, a senior forward for Hawaii.
“Skye is coming back as a senior after sitting out a year due to injury,” Nagamine said. “She’s done a good job recovering from her injuries and should be doing a good job for us. She’s a graduate from Kauai High School, and as you can see, college soccer is in the reach of everyone. Hard work and studying can get you to where Skye is.”
The 2013 version of Hawaii soccer has players from Mililani, Honolulu, Waipahu, Ewa Beach and Kalaheo, Kauai in addition to players from California and Colorado.
“There is a great deal of interest in Hawaii soccer right now,” Nagamine said. “There was an article about our program in a Honolulu publication, and since then, there has been a growing interest in the program.”
Trugillo said the team arrived on Kauai Friday, and following the clinic and inter-team scrimmage on Saturday, will spend Sunday doing team bonding before leaving on Monday.
The Rainbow Wahine soccer team debuts on Aug. 23 when it meets the University of North Carolina at Greensboro at 7 p.m. at the Ohana Hotels and Resorts No Ka Oi soccer tournament on Oahu.
Visit www.hawaiiathletics.com for more information.