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Red Raider footballer bound for Oregon

LIHUE — Kauai High School’s varsity girls soccer team recently finished a season in which it was runner-up in the Kauai Interscholastic Federation and placed sixth at states.

Now, one of its leaders will be headed for the Mainland to continue her soccer career and earn an education.

Red Raiders senior Janae Souza signed her letter of intent in January and will play for Chemeketa Community College in Salem, Oregon.

“I got approached in December. The coach called and asked how serious I was playing for their program,” Souza said in a phone interview Tuesday. “The more we talked, I found out how I would fit in well with the program and how going to a community college in Oregon would set me up for the next two years at a university.”

The Kauai center midfielder said she was considering four schools including Chemeketa. She picked the Oregon school because she was happy with the scholarship she was offered and that she would be given immediate playing time as a freshman.

“There was going to be a starting spot for my position. And the roster is small, so I could play a lot,” Souza said.

Kauai girls soccer head coach Kevin Devitt said Souza had been working toward playing at the next level for a long time and is thrilled she will get the chance.

“She’s been working at it for a while. It just didn’t happen overnight,” he said. “We’ve been making sure she’s been keeping up with her grades, and she’s doing well in the classroom.”

He added her work ethic and maturity will bode well for her when she moves.

“She has grown as a person. She has taken on responsibility as a senior captain,” he said. “She always seeks advice. We tell her to prepare herself because it won’t be like high school. It won’t be that easy.”

Souza said though she has yet to visit the campus, she has previously been to Oregon. Though she will miss her family and the beaches of her home island, she believes Oregon is the right move as she prepares to take the next step in life.

She intends to major in psychology with an emphasis in behavioral neuroscience.

“(I look forward to) playing where there’s more competition,” she said. “I’m more excited than nervous. I know Oregon is going to be a great place. But I’m also sad that I’m leaving Kauai, too.”

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