7 Maui United Soccer Players Sign Letters of Intent
By Rodney S. Yap
Since its inception in 1992, the Maui United Soccer Club has never wavered from its goal of preparing its prep players to play at the college level.
So its no coincidence that after 20 years and hundreds of members, the Maui United Soccer Club (MUSC) would celebrate an unprecedented signing of seven of its members on National Letter of Intent (NLI) day, the first day high school recruits can officially sign to attend college.
Four girls and one boy signed letters of intent this afternoon at an informal press conference at Old Republic Title & Escrow in Kahului. Three of the four girls are from Baldwin High School — Amanda Jorgensen, Amber-Lei Madriaga, and Breanna Gaddis — the other is Maya Palaroan from King Kekaulike. Baldwin’s Mattias Thompson was the lone boy to sign.
Two other club members from Kamehameha Maui, Makana Pundyke and Kalena Kaeo, flew to Oahu to be part of the Pacific Island Athletic Alliance annual signing this morning at the Sheraton Waikiki, where a total of 36 prep athletes from around the state signed letters of intent.
Meanwhile, the Maui Interscholastic League’s top football recruit Pasoni Tasini of Baldwin signed and faxed his paperwork to Utah University first thing this morning. There was a small celebration in his honor at lunch, where teammates, friends, teachers and other staff members stopped by to congratulate the four-sport athlete and two-time MIL Defensive Player of the Year. Others who attended signed a poster wishing him well next fall.
Without question, there was plenty to be proud of today as far as soccer is concern on the Valley Isle. The seven players from Maui United nearly matched the nine from Oahu who signed and Thompson was one of only two boys — the other being Aaron Goo of Saint Louis School headed for UNLV.
“Everyone involved with Maui United now and in the past has reason to feel a sense of pride and joy about today,” said Fred Guzman, Maui United Director of Operations. “These seven join many others who have gone through our program and gone on to compete at the next level. This only serves to further our commitment to continue a goal that has become a tradition.”
Maui United’s resume is long and continues to grow as it nurtures players as young as 6-years old in its Keiki Academy and have teams from 7-and-under through 19-and-under. With 20 state titles to its credit and more than 30 regional tournaments, MUSC players annually earn top MIL and state all-star recognition.
“The unheralded heroes in all of this are the parents. Times are tight. Travel costs are up. But the parents found a way of financing trips, allowing this group to showcase its talents in top Mainland tournaments,” Guzman explained.
“The best part of all is that some of those alumni have returned to give back. Brent Nunes went through the program, played in college and is now our director of coaching. He’s done an excellent job when you consider we qualified four teams for regional tournaments last year, three as state champions.”
Blake Nunes played at Sacramento State and Luke Nakamoto played at College of Notre Dame. Both are currently staff coaches.
All of the girls who signed were coached by Matt Snyder. Thompson’s team was coached by Brent and Chuck Nunes.
The reason Pundyke and Kaeo were on Oahu is because Kamehameha Maui opened the Outrigger Hotels & Resorts/Hawai’i High School Athletic Association Girls Soccer Division I State Championships Wednesday at the Waipi’o Peninsula Soccer Complex in Waipahu.
Kamehameha Maui defeated Kaiser, 2-1, and will meet top-seeded Kamehameha Kapalama, the Interscholastic League of Honolulu champion, Thursday at 7 p.m.
Pundyke, who scored the second goal against Kaiser, signed to play at Western Oregon, while Kaeo signed to play with Division I University of Texas, San Antonio.
MIL champion Baldwin had a bye Wednesday and face unseeded Iolani, a 7-1 winner over Aiea, in Thursday’s quarterfinal match at 1 p.m.
Baldwin’s Jorgensen signed with Colorado State University – Pueblo, Gaddis signed with Hawaii Pacific University, Madriaga and Thompson signed with Lenoir-Rhyne in North Carolina and Kekaulike’s Palaroan will be teammates with Pundyke at Western Oregon.
Joining the players today were their respective parents, friends, and MUSC coaches. Following the signing, the Baldwin girls hurried to the airport to meet their teammates and head for Oahu.
At the Division II girls state soccer tournament, also being held at Waipi’o Peninsula Soccer Complex in Waipahu, Kapa’a defeated Seabury Hall of the MIL, 3-0.
Both state tournaments run through Saturday.
Results from Wednesday’s opening-round matches:
Mililani 3, Kapolei 2 (OT)
Pearl City 2, Konawaena 1 (2OT)
Kamehameha-Maui 2, Kaiser 1
Iolani 7, ‘Aiea 1
Makua Lani 4, Leilehua 3 (PKs, 4-2)
Radford 1, Kamehameha-Hawaii 0 (OT)
Kapa’a 3, Seabury Hall 0
Here is a list of student athletes who signed letters today at the PIAA ceremony on Oahu:
Kalei Auelua, Saint Louis – Washington
DeForest Buckner, Punahou – Oregon
Keoni Bush-Loo, Kamehameha – Arizona
Micah Pono Choy, Kamehameha – Eastern Illinois
Gary Copeland, Moanalua – Redlands
Kaimi Fairbairn, Punahou – UCLA
Kyle Fleming, Waimea – Army
Calen Kamuela Grugier-Hill, Kamehameha – Eastern Illinois
Siaosi Hala’api’api, Kaimuki – Wyoming
Jacob Ioane, Punahou – San Diego
Luke Kaumatule, Punahou – Stanford
Pono Keni, Saint Louis – San Diego
Steven Lakalaka, Punahou – Hawaii
Leland Mitchell, Farrington – Chabot
David Monroe, Punahou – San Diego
Brock Namuo, Kealakehe – Western Oregon
Kory Rasmussen, Kamehameha – Colorado
Kiha Sai, Kamehameha – Hawaii
Leni Sekona, Punahou – Iowa Wesleyan
Russell Siavii, Leilehua – Idaho
Matthew Sparks, Punahou – Massachusettes
Taylor Taliulu, Kamehameha – Washington State
Dillon Turk, Moanalua – Trinity International
Psalm Wooching, Kealakehe – Washington
Ashley Asuncion, Kamehameha – Arkansas-Little Rock
Vanessa Cabilan, Kamhameha – Idaho State
Kristen Fujinaga, Mililani – Cal Baptist
Aaron Goo, Saint Louis – UNLV
Kalena Kaeo, Kamehameha-Maui – Texas-San Antonio
Amanda McCaskill, Iolani – Hawaii
Tiana Miyashiro, Kaiser – Holy Names
Carly Kauwela Neal, Kamehameha – UT-San Antonio
Ashley Pundyke, Kamehameha-Maui – Western Oregon
Lauren Stollar, Punahou – Drexel
Lauren Uehara, Mililani – Cal Baptist
Alika McGuire, Kamehameha – Howard JC