Youth soccer: Waiakea looks to retaliate against Hilo
If Waiakea girls soccer coach Jason Nakayama is looking for a measure of revenge, Hilo coach Paul Bello admits it might be on tap Saturday.
Well, sort of.
The under-19 division at the Volcano International Soccer Tournament, which runs Friday through Sunday at Hilo Bayfront, is an intimate two-team affair. It features just Nakayama’s summer club, the Warriors, and a Bello-coached Hilo team.
The Vikings eliminated Waiakea from the Big Island Interscholastic Federation Division I playoffs last season, but Bello figures he’s up against it this time.
“(Jason’s) got a stacked team,” he said. “He basically got an all-star team.”
The Warriors are headlined by a pair of former prolific BIIF scorers, Kera Akiyama (Kamehameha) and McKenna Davidson (Kealakehe). Each were on Abunai last season as it repeated its title at Volcano with Nakayama as an assistant.
He admitted he has an ample amount of firepower this season, but added: “Most of our team is younger players. Hopefully, it works out with younger and older. We’ve got good balance.”
The team is primarily made up of players from Waiakea, Keaau and Kamehameha.
Because the U19 division has only two teams — there is no U14 girls division — not only will Hilo play against Waiakea, but Hilo will play with Waiakea.
Bello said the teams would play Saturday, then they’ll draw lots and break into four smaller teams for seven-on-seven games.
“The girls all know each other. They’ll have fun doing that,” Bello said.
He’s not taking any college players into the tournament, but he has a strong core in Vikings seniors Mehana Sabado-Halpern, Savannah Toussaint-Adviento and Alysha Medeiros.
The U19 boys division has four teams: two from Hilo, a North Hawaii club led by Honokaa boys coach Maurice Miranda, and a squad from Kailua-Kona. Bello said at least one of the teams will be coed, a Hilo squad that has former Viking Rose Nakamura.
Numbers-wise, the strength of the tournament is in the younger divisions in U10 and U12.
“We’ve got quite a bit,” Bello said.
Tournament director Dave Brown said a handful of teams from Honolulu and Maui are in the field.