Abunai Soccer Boys Win Gold In Vegas
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Abunai Soccer Academy’s 12 and under boys kicked it into high gear Jan. 16-18 at the Las Vegas Cup, bringing the gold home to the Islands as well as some much-deserved bragging rights.
The tournament found 13 of the team’s 15 members facing off against a team from Foothill, Calif., in the championship game, despite the cold and inclimate weather. That game was the fifth the team would win over the course of the Martin Luther King Jr. weekend.
“The weather was pretty odd that Monday ‘cuz a storm was coming in,” said Victor Deleon, father of Kapolei player Lyric Deleon.“It was around 48 degrees or so, and it had been raining all day - just cold and wet and really different than the conditions in Hawaii that we’re used to. They (their opponents) scored the first goal, and in the second half my son helped to tie it up at 1-1. It came down to a shootout, and they missed one and we missed one, so after that it came up to sudden death.
“The first one who misses loses, and so they missed and we won.”
Four Hawaii teams made it to the Las Vegas Cup, including the Abunai 12U boys, two girls teams and Abunai’s coed 10U team. The 12U team was the only Hawaii team to place.
“Their reaction was real emotional,” Deleon recalled about the win. “There was a lot of crying and screaming and smiles. The other team was really professional and showed great sportsmanship throughout the game and afterwards, too.”
The Las Vegas Cup wasn’t the team’s first brush with victory, though. As a 9U team, the boys were 2007 Oahu League runners-up, 2007 HYSA President’s Day Cup (State Cup) final-ists and the 2007 Aloha International Cup champions.
As a 10U squad, the group took home the 2007 Hawaii Thanksgiving Tournament title, the 2008 HYSA President’s Day Cup and the 2008 Aloha International Cup championships. As an 11U team they won the 2008 Hawaii Thanksgiving Tournament, and in the 12U bracket won the 2009 Irvine Winter Classic Tournament, the 2009 HYSA President’s Day Cup, the Aloha International Cup and were 2009 Hawaii International Cup finalists.
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