June 27, 2024

Credit: KHON2



Over the past few decades, Hawaii and Seattle have shared many strong connections. Daily nonstop flight service between Honolulu and Seattle began in 1985, providing direct access between both destinations. The Emerald City also ranks first in being home to the most native Hawaiians outside of Hawaii compared to other Pacific Northwest cities.


However, it was since 2008, when Hawaii was also claimed as the Homegrown Territory for the Seattle Sounders FC (MLS), opening doors with direct access to opportunities for young soccer athletes from the Hawaiian Islands to embark on a path to professional contracts on the other side of the Pacific Ocean.


“We have been really fortunate to have strong ties to Hawaii for a long time,” Sounders FC General Manager & President of Soccer Garth Lagerwey told during the league’s livestream for the 2022 MLS SuperDraft.


In 2002, both Kamehameha Schools graduate Brian Ching and Maui High School graduate Zach Scott became the first two local boys from Hawaii to sign on with the Seattle Sounders followed by Moanalua High School graduate Kenji Treschuk in 2007. A decade later, the Sounders Academy signed on Kapolei High School graduate Shandon Hopeau, who eventually became the first Sounders Academy player from Hawaii to sign a professional contract with the team in 2017. Most recently, Kailua native Dylan Teves joined the Sounders during the 2022 season. All five players share inspiring stories of starting their soccer journey from a young age and working hard to obtain professional contracts.


“Underscoring this strong relationship and connection between two cities, it made sense for us to partner with two Hawaii-born former Sounders players to coach this year’s clinic and newly added tournament to inspire keiki soccer players,” said Takehiko Nakamura, President of Blue United Corporation and organizer of Pacific Rim Cup. “This year, we are also pleased to welcome David ‘Bingy’ Lara, the Head of Academy Recruitment of Seattle Sounders FC (MLS), who will be in attendance to meet clinic and tournament participants in addition to coaching them.”


Hopeau, Treschuk, Lara along with Takuya Yamada from Japan will be the headlining coaches this year at the Pacific Rim Cup Keiki Soccer Clinic and Tournament on July 26-27 at Waipio Peninsula Soccer Complex. The clinic will commence on July 26 for keiki ages 4 to 14, followed by the newly added tournament component on July 27 for keiki ages 8 to 11.


“When I first got the call, it was kind of hard to believe because it was a dream way back growing up in Hawaii,” Hopeau told KHON2’s Alan Hoshida in 2020. “I always told my mom I wanted to be a professional soccer player. Once I got the call, I just kind of broke down, thought about all the hardships I went through growing up.”


Pacific Rim Cup debuted in 2018 and last held its professional games at Aloha Stadium in 2019 but has been on hold since the pandemic. Since 2022, Blue United Corporation has held annual summer clinics for Hawaii’s soccer youth at Waipio Soccer Peninsula Complex with hopes of bringing back the professional games in the near future.


"When I joined the Sounders in 2007, Hawaii wasn’t yet part of the team’s Homegrown Territory, so I had to work much harder to secure opportunities for team trials," said Treschuk. "Offering opportunities like this clinic to Hawaii helps provide our keiki with experience and exposure, bringing them closer to their goals and dreams should they decide to further their soccer careers outside of the Islands.”


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