Kaua‘i youth shine in national tourneys

  • Jerry Shiroma / Special to The Garden Island

    Kauli‘a Shiroma beams with his silver medal from the Surf Cup 2021 contested July 23 to 26 in San Diego.

  • Jerry Shiroma / Special to The Garden Island

    The Albion Hawai‘i Soccer Club celebrate its runner-up finish at Surf Cup 2021 in San Diego.

LIHU‘E — The Albion Soccer Club Hawai‘i and the Rush soccer program were among the representation Hawai‘i fielded during the Surf Cup 2021 Best of the Best Tournament in San Diego late last month.

Hawai‘i put up 20 teams — 19 from O‘ahu and one from Maui, the Albion SC that included two Kaua‘i boys including Kauli‘a Shiroa, a former Kaua‘i boy, and two boys from Hawaii Island. Of those 20 teams, four Hawai‘i teams, including the Albion SC, and the Rush under 14 girls team containing the services of Kaua‘i player Chloe Ayonon made the championships.

Albion SC opened its age-group play with a 4-0 win over Santa Barbara SC (SOCAL) en route to a 2-1 record that earned them the top ranking in the division, according to Jerry Shiroma, Kauli‘a’s father.

“They opened the scoring with a byline cross from Leha Harman to Jacob Grossman for the header into the back of the net for the 1-0 lead,” Jerry Shiroma said in an email.

“Owen Riecke scored two goals from outside the 18-yard box to end the first half 3-0 in favor of Albion. The second half was mostly possession soccer until Bailey Hofmann found a crease from midfield and passed to Duke Romanchak, open on the left, who crossed the ball to Kauli‘a for a one-touch goal for the 4-0 final.”

Jerry Shiroma said following an aggressive and physical game that saw Albion suffer a 3-0 loss to IR Academy Purple, the team needed a win on day three of the tournament.

“Albion SC did their part, taking a 2-1 edge over Santa Monica (SOCAL),” he said. “Santa Monica went up early with a 1-0 bulge that Albion responded to with a deep run by Romanchak, whose shot-on-goal was blocked, but Kauli‘a received the rebound and shot the ball past the Santa Monica goalie to tie the contest at the half. The second half was back and forth until Albion was awarded a free kick. Owen Riecke sent the free kick into the box, and Grossman got fouled. Hofmann converted the penalty kick to give Albion a 2-1 edge. During the final game of the day, IR Academy Purple tied Santa Barbara SC 2-2 to give Albion the age-group win and qualification for the tournament semifinals.”

During the semis, Albion edged Sparta United SC, a team from Utah, and advanced following a 2-1 win.

“Down one goal, Kauli‘a dribbled the ball into the box and was fouled attempting a shot on goal. Hofmann converted the PK to knot the contest 1-1,” Jerry said. “Late into the second half, Romanchak scored the go-ahead and the trip to the championships, where Albion faced YSF Access U FC.”

“Albion was down 3-0 in the first half,” he said. “The start of the second half, both teams were scoreless as Albion’s midfield and forwards kept attacking the YSF defense.”

Ayonon, playing for the Honolulu-based Rush girls under-14 squad, helped the squad win their division championship with a 2-0 win over the Rebels, a team based out of Los Angeles, said Bobby Ayonon, Chloe’s grandfather.

Following the Surf Cup, Chloe went on to the national championships in Colorado with Rush, where the team played in the under-13 age group and finished in second place following a 1-0 loss to Boston in the finals.

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Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or dfujimoto@thegardenisland.com.

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