Showcase Games Cap Training at Valley Isle Soccer Academy
By Rodney S. Yap
The Valley Isle Soccer Academy concluded unprecedented week of soccer training Friday, June 7, with its inaugural Showcase Games that featured 68 promising high school players.
A crowd of about 500 at Kanaiaupuni Stadium on the campus of Kamehameha Schools Maui watched the girls team coached by West Virginia’s Lisa Stoia beat Louisville, 1-0, coached by Cardinals’ assistant Natalie Cocchi. Leialoha Medeiros, one of seven select freshman-to-be, scored the lone goal and Lily Higashino, a senior-to-be at Kamehameha Maui, was chosen the girls MVP.
In the boys showcase game that followed, Santa Clara defeated West Virginia, 3-2. Ryan Cochrane, currently an assistant coach with the Broncos, coached the winning squad. His team was led by goal scorers Chandler Alo, Daniel Quenga and Nainoa Silva — all juniors-to-be from Kamehameha Maui. Chandler Alo was named the boys MVP. The West Virginia team was coached by current Mountaineers’ assistant Daniel Stratford. Lionel Mills of King Kekaulike and Micah Alo of KS-Maui scored goals for Stratford’s team.
Each Showcase team were made up of 17 players and the MVP’s were selected by the coach of the winning team based on their performance in the featured game and throughout the College Prep Camp week of training.
In addition, the Valley Isle Soccer Academy (VISA) held a four-day Youth Camp with the youngest age group being Under 8. A total of 72 youth players attended and received progressive training from the same college coaches.
“All of the college coaches were impressed with the technical development of the youth players at the camp, and were surprised by the technical abilities of the high school players,” said Aleksandar Filipovic, Valley Isle Soccer Academy’s director of coaching. “The high school players struggled with their understanding of the tactical elements of the game, which the college coaches focused on throughout the camp.”
President of Valley Isle Soccer Academy Rebecca Filipovic said: “We are extremely happy with the success of this inaugural college prep camp and youth camp. We are very grateful for the immense support we have received from players, parents, our sponsors, and the Hawaii soccer community.”
Filipovic said VISA is already looking to next year’s event.
“We have already had interest from several other college coaches from Division I and Division II soccer programs across the country.”
On Sunday, June 2, the day before the camps officially started, VISA hosted a “Parents’ College Night” at Baldwin High School’s multi-purpose room, where approximately 120 players and parents attended. The information-based workshop featured the same four college coaches — Stoia, Cocchi, Cochrane, and Stratford — who discussed the process of identification and recruitment of players at the Division I and II levels. They also stressed the importance of academic performance and how athletic and academic scholarships work hand in hand.
Maui United Way collected approximately $800 in donations from the Showcase Game, and Rebecca Filipovic said the Valley Isle Soccer Academy is donating $500 of the its own money towards United Way.
Filipovic said coaches from West Ham United International Academy, based in London, England, will be coming to Maui, Oct. 5-7, to hold a three-day identification camp for players ages 8-16 from the Valley Isle and across the state. The camp, which is part of West Ham’s partnership with VISA, will be limited to 100 players.
For more information go to http://www.valleyislesoccer.com.