KALAHEO — The Kalaheo Futsal Club Under 12 boys will be playing in Anaheim, Calif., starting July 17.
“We are the state Under 12 champions after winning the title during the Memorial Day weekend,” said Michelle Alimboyoguen, the Kalaheo FC president and coach. “These boys will represent the state of Hawaii and are the sole Kauai participants in the 30th annual National Futsal Tournament which will feature eight regions.”
The boys, six from Kauai, one from the Big Island and one from the Mainland, will take the floor under the direction of coaches Steve Hunt, Martin Steinhaus and Alimboyoguen.
During Wednesday’s practice at Kato Gym in Kalaheo, the boys were working on techniques, both defensive and offensive, finishing the instruction with a scrimmage against the coaches.
“We do practices twice a week,” Alimboyoguen said. “When we’re at Kato Gym, we work on developing technique. When we move to the Wilcox Gym at Island School, we scrimmage and play. The Island School gym is larger than Kato Gym and is perfect for play.”
She emphasizes technique for futsal players is key because the court is smaller, play is quicker, and with smaller numbers on the field, eveyone needs to be on the same page.
The president of the Kalaheo Futsal Club said she is proud of the way the boys have developed and matured.
“This is the result of two years’ work,” Alimboyoguen said. “It’s been a lot of little steps.”
Hunt, the team’s head coach, said he traded in his tennis racquets after his boys developed an interest in the game.
“This started five or six years ago with Coach Jorge at Kiahuna where two of the tennis courts were converted to futsal courts,” Hunt said. “Futsal is like soccer, but unlike soccer. There is five or six touches, and the ability to make quick mental strategy and decisions is important because of the speed and size of the court. Any of these futsal players shine when they take the grass field because their soccer sense has been honed on the futsal court.”
Steinhaus is the junior varsity coach for Kauai High School. The workout with the boys, including his son, Carlos Steinhaus-Lang, demonstrates Steinhaus’ ability for soccer on the field.
“This is what I keep trying to tell the boys,” Steinhaus said. “It doesn’t matter if they are Under 12, or at the high school level, this is how to play the game.”
The Kauai players on the team include Steinhaus- Lang, Mason Hunt, Tyler Hawthorne, Dwight Apao, Conner Mackenzie, Kaeo Rezentes and Conor Hunt, a U14 player who joins the coaching staff.