LIHUE — Local soccer club Team Onipa’a will be going off-island for Thanksgiving weekend for some in-state competition.
Onipa’a will be taking U14 boys and girls teams to Oahu for the Thanksgiving Tournament, which begins Friday and is hosted by Oahu club Hawaii Rush.
Onipa’a coach Ramon Semblante said the boys and girls teams are comprised of local players from varying youth clubs on Kauai.
“This bunch of talented kids are from different districts from Haena to Kekaha. So, it’s different clubs. It’s not only one club,” Demblante said. “You got the Kauai Futsal club, Northshore club and the Lihue Cougars club.”
The tournament will host several teams from around the state. Both of Onipa’a’s teams will compete in a four-team bracket.
The bracket in which the girls will play in, Semblante called it the “bracket of death.”
“You know why? The Rush girls, that is the No. 1 in the state. They beat everybody,” Semblante said. “We met them before. The score was 12-0. And the Shockers, it’s part of our group, too. We lost to them like 5-3. And the other team, they’re a strong team. But of course, we’re strong, too.”
Onipa’s U14 girls midfielder Kalista Brigante, too, said the girl’s bracket will be tough but believes “we got it.”
“We’ve played all of them. Some of them are pretty challenging,” Brigante said. “I think that we’re good at talking and passing around.”
“(We hope) to bond as a team because we’re the best of Kauai,” she added. “We represent the whole island. So when we go up there, we got to be respectful.”
Onipaa’s U14 boys midfielder Dwight Apao believes because the team is made of players from different clubs, it will be its strength.
“I’m excited to go up there. We’ve practiced for a long time, and we really bonded,” Apao said. “We all come from different teams. I feel like we’ve bonded enough, so we’re going to have that chemistry up there. We’re going to make it pretty far in the tournament.”
The youth soccer tournament will play through Sunday.