Twelve teams from three clubs claimed state titles this past weekend, at the 2017 US Club Soccer Hawaiʻi State Cup held April 14-16 at the Waipi‘o Peninsula Soccer Complex on O‘ahu. The event was hosted by the Major Island Soccer Organization (MISO) Junior League and the Hawaiʻi Soccer Federation.
A total of 68 teams attended the competition, with the greatest neighbor-island presence than in years past. Three teams from Kauaʻi made their State Cup debut, with the Līhuʻe Cougars (ʻ03G) advancing to the 14-U semi-finals. Three Big Island teams—Nā Hoa O Puna (‘05B); Chicas (‘00G); and Kona Crush SC (‘98/ʻ99B)—contended in the 12-U Boys, 12-U Girls, and 18/19-U Boys championship finals (respectively). Hawaii Rush SC – Maui (‘03G) advanced to the 14-U semi-finals.
Three championship matches (15-U Boys; 14-U Girls; 13-U Girls) went into overtime, with two girls division matches ending in penalty kicks. Tournament Director and MISO President, Sergio Bolioli, stated, “this is what we want to see...quality competition, down to the wire.” According to Bolioli, “this year’s cup exceeded our expectations—as far as building and growing US Club Soccer programming in Hawaiʻi. From the number of teams entered, the level of play, to the professionalism of the officials, we are extremely pleased with the overall results.”
In the 13-U to 18/19-U Divisions, the Hawaiʻi State Cup serves as a qualifying event to US Club Soccer’s National Cup Finals. This year’s National Cup XVI will take place July 21-24, at Grand Park in Westfield, Indiana. US Club Soccer’s West Region Manager, Gabe Rood, was present throughout the weekend, and noted that one of the best compliments he received at last year’s National Cup was, “we played a team from Hawaiʻi!” “They thought that was the best part of their experience, and it simply goes to show that coaches and teams like diversity.”
At the close of each final, Rood presented trophies and explained US Club Soccer’s role and objectives for Hawaiʻi:
We wanted to provide more opportunities for players. In the past, Hawaiʻi teams have won a Regional competition, and couldn’t turn around to book travel [to Nationals]—in three to four weeks time. It simply made sense to build the Hawaiʻi State Cup as a national qualifier, where Hawaiʻi teams could bypass our Regionals, and go straight to Nationals. We've since seen Hawaiʻi teams make it all the way to the National Cup’s finals, and even win titles.
From an individual perspective, the Hawaiʻi State Cup is a sanctioned Player Development Program (PDP) event—a part of US Club Soccer’s National Identification Development (id²) Program. id²/PDP is US Club Soccer’s (USCS) pathway program for players to enter the U.S. National Academy. Currently, the program targets players born in 2003 and 2004 (girls and boys, respectively). The Hawaiʻi PDP's additionally target girls and boys born in 2004 and 2005 (respectively)—as approved by USCS. Rood scouted top players throughout the State Cup weekend—for potential invites to participate in a Maui or Oʻahu PDP Camp this fall.
Hawaii Rush SC (2004 born) ʻ03B player, Logan Calpito, was identified as top talent at last year’s State competition. Throughout this year’s tournament, Calpito toured Spain and competed in the prestigious Mediterranean International Cup (MIC)—as a member of the id² National team. Calpito was selected after impressing id² Head Coach, Gerry McKeown, at the 2016 PDP held on Oʻahu; followed by an id² Camp in Arizona.
According to an MIC official, the 2017 id² Spain team “made history…the first U.S. team to advance to quarterfinals,” after conceding zero goals throughout group play, and a narrow 4-2 defeat in penalty kicks against FC Internazionale Milano.
Of Calpito’s contribution to the 18-man roster, McKeown stated:
As the youngest player in the group, Logan proved to be one of the most dependable and versatile players. He was composed in possession and a combative defender. We trusted him to man-mark Inter Milan’s best player flawlessly. Logan made the most of this valuable opportunity and he has a bright future in the game.
For information regarding US Club Soccer programming in Hawaiʻi, contact Sergio Bolioli on Oʻahu at firstname.lastname@example.org or (808) 722-8889; or contact Vernon Kapuaʻala on Maui at email@example.com or (808) 442-2937; or visit the US Club Soccer Hawaiʻi website at www.uscshawaii.org.
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