KALAHEO — Kona Rasmussen arrived to the first meeting of a two-day futsal camp wearing a replica jersey of his favorite soccer player, Brazilian superstar foward Neymar.
The 7-year-old said he likes playing “because you get to control the ball and shoot goals.”
The first day of camp, hosted by sports school Culture FC Sports, local youth futsal club Kalaheo FC and the County of Kauai, was held Thursday afternoon at the Kato Gym in Kalaheo. Fifteen teenagers and 26 keiki participated in the camp.
Culture FC coach Adriano De Lima, a Brazilian footballer who played professionally for a number of years in Brazil, Mexico, Europe and the United States, led the camp. Through his travels as an international player, he inherited a purpose of providing potential future soccer players with the same experiences he’s had.
“Especially in the United States, where soccer is still growing, I began to attempt to help kids and develop their culture,” De Lima said. “There’s a lot of potential in the United States, but the culture of soccer is not as big as in other countries.”
De Lima has coached for 10 years, but established Culture FC four years ago and has done camps on Kauai for the past two years.
“The response has been amazing. The kids and parents have been so supportive to the program and what I’ve been trying to do,” he said.
Kauai High School sophomore Maka Bailey, who plays winger for the school’s boys soccer team, has attended De Lima’s futsal camps previously. He said while soccer and futsal are different, there are aspects of the indoor sport that translate well to the soccer pitch.
“You think a lot quicker (playing futsal) because it’s a smaller field,” he said. “So when you’re on the soccer field, you feel like you have a lot of time and a lot of space. It makes things easier.”