LIHUE — Local youth soccer club Team Onipa’a will take its 14-and-under girls to Oahu and vie for berths to Mainland competitions.
“It’s intense kine. A lot of good teams. The best of the best,” said Onipa’a head coach Ramon Semblante during Tuesday’s practice at the North Vidinha Soccer Fields.
Onipa’a will compete in two tournaments at the Waipio Peninsula Soccer Complex on Oahu.
The first is the USYSA (United States Youth Soccer Association) State Cup, which begins Friday.
The winner will earn a spot in the USYSA West Regionals, which takes place June 19 in Seattle.
The Onipa’a girls will then compete in the USSCHI (US Soccer Club Hawaii) Cup on April 14.
The winner of that tournament will qualify for the National Cup XVI Finals on July 21 in Westfield, Indiana.
Semblante said the team has picked up practices in January.
If the team does win one or even both of the tournaments, the team is set on flying to the Mainland.
“If we win one of the two, we’re going,” Semblante said. “We just got to find fundraising. We just do (car washes) every day if we have to.”
Assistant coach Junior Ehia said a strength of the team is familiarity.
“We’ve been doing this together. It’s just implementing different players in it,” Ehia said. “The system that Coach Ramon runs is a little bit more advanced, but we keep it a little bit simple to keep the girls understanding.
“We got attacking forwards and mids. Our defense is great. We’re pretty fundamentally stout in a lot of the spots that we have. Even the bench,” he added.