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Jul, 2021

Looking forward to tournament play in July of 2021

By MATT GERHART Hawaii Tribune-Herald

The core tenet of the American Youth Soccer Association is a simple one: everyone plays.

Getting everyone to play well and in unison is more complicated, but the Hilo region of AYSO, under new regional commissioner Troy Keolanui, is working toward that end.

Keolanui took over for Dave Brown, who died in November after 33 years on the job, and in an attempt to raise the bar Hilo’s region is holding a high school summer league as well weekly training sessions with UH-Hilo soccer director Gene Okamura.

“While (Dave Brown’s) presence is sorely missed, we carry his drive and commitment forward,” Keolanui said. “My goal as the new RC is to grow our region, provide opportunities for kids and adults alike to excel and use soccer as the means to build a better community.”

The expansion carries over to the the annual Volcano International Soccer Tournament, which kicked off Thursday at Hilo Bayfront.

Pool play for boys girls in under-19, U14, U12 and U10 begins in full at 9 a.m. Friday, and tournament director Marc Butz’s handiwork will be on display at six fields – five at Bayfront as well as Amauulu. Butz has been busy marketing the tournament, sponsored by Big Island Candies, and the county may want to shake his hand considering the uptick in visitors. Compared to last season, the field has grown by approximately 15 teams to 42.

“I put a lot of effort into it,” Butz said. “It’s a good sign for the growth of our region.”

In 2015, the U19 field was sparse, but this year it’s robust and includes teams from Kaneohe, Oahu, West Oahu and Maui. Mililani, Oahu, figures to be one of the stronger teams in the U14. In all, nine teams from West Oahu are participating.

“It’s a combination of greater participation from AYSO (select) teams on the island as well as Hawaii Youth Soccer Association teams within the island such as the Kona Crush and outerisland teams,” Butz said

AYSO and HYSA club teams differ when it comes to that core tenet – everyone plays – which can sometimes lead to some friction.



For the next three days, every team plays under the same umbrella.

“It’s about the kids,” Butz said. “It’s not about the politics and all that stuff. We bridge (the gap). It’s about kids playing soccer and having fun.”

That theme is an extension of what Keolanui has been trying to accomplish the past few months.

The summer league for players going into grades 9-12 has given coaches a chance to build their programs during the offseason.

“Some schools have taken this opportunity seriously and are putting some very talented groups on the pitch,” Keolanui said.

Meanwhile, Okamura and some of his Vulcans players have taken the time to work with U12 teams.

“This kind of joint venture is a win-win situation for the wide-eyed kids being trained by players they hope to some day follow to UHH,” Keolanui said. “And the UHH program will undoubtedly see more people at their matches as AYSO continues to follow them into their home season.”

Along with a soccerfest and skills challenge, two U19 matches were held Thursday. The Hilo girls beat Waiakea 6-0 behind goals from Nanea Rabang, Hollie Saplan, Haley Miyasato, Glory Medeiros, Miya Clarke and Jacelyn Cambra. In a boys match, Kamehameha beat Waiakea 3-1.

Pool play continues at 9 a.m. Saturday, with semifinals, finals and consolation play on Sunday. All the while, coaches will be busy making sure each player on every roster sees the field for at least one half.

“When we say everybody plays, everybody plays,” Butz said.

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Hilo AYSO Region 274

50 Lahaina Street 
Hilo, Hawaii 96720

Email Us: [email protected]
Phone : 808-959-1972
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