Kalani Soccer Tours Japan
December 20, 2017
On Nov. 17 the Kalani boys soccer team went off island and traveled to Japan to play games and experience things only a few get a chance to experience. The team toured Tokyo, Osaka, Hiroshima by bus and train. Everything was well organized and nothing went wrong during the whole trip.
In Tokyo, the group of young men stayed in Khaosan Hostel for three days. They walked all around the city and played two games. Kalani lost the first game 2-0 against highly ranked Seikei HS. Our players were outmatched and barely touched the ball the entire game. The Japanese high school athletes were academy-level, pre-professional players. In Tokyo, Kalani also challenged Kawasaki HS and the game ended in a 0-0 draw.
Kalani’s soccer squad then walked all around Shibuya, a small city known for its shopping. There were many stores we don’t have in the islands.
“I love Bape which is a clothing store and they don’t have that here in Hawai’i so buying things there felt good,” player Jason Strambu said.
Players also got to see popular Tokyo landmarks, like the Hachiko The Dog statue outside of the Shibuya train station. The statue commemorates the famous relationship between a man and his patient and loyal dog.
“It was really an experience of a lifetime to see this place and to see a different way of life,” Claude Saunders said.
On Tuesday the boys caught the bullet train to Osaka where they stayed at another Khaosan Hostel. In Osaka, they played their last rival. They also ate and shopped around the crowded city every night looking and taking pictures of all the fun and unique things the city has to offer.
“In the night, Japan comes alive. Everybody is outside shopping and having a good time,” Kaedin Oshiro said.
The group also went to Hiroshima where they saw the devastating events that occurred there and learned about what happened and how the city regained hope after the terrible tragedy.
On Thursday the boys played their last game against Kashiwaba HS on one of the nicest fields they would ever get to play on at the Japan national soccer training center. Sadly they lost 5-0 and took the rest of the day to do any last minute shopping.
The one day the team didn’t have a game, they practiced. In Japan, most of the fields were dirt, not grass. Many players complained. Coach Michael Ching didn’t give his team any days off.
“We’re in pre-season,” Ching explained. “Why would we have a day off when we could practice?”
On Friday, the Kalani team caught an early flight back home. Although the trip was a fun learning experience, the boys all have one goal in mind and nothing will stop them from achieving it.
“We are going in to win states without a doubt,” team captain Marc Cabrera said.
We will see how the team does this year and definitely follow up on them later this year! Go Falcons!